November 2015

Beef Stew in a Pumpkin

beef-stew-in-pumpkin

Do you like how I always post holiday recipes after the relevant holiday? A truly savvy blogger would post the recipes PRIOR to the holiday to ensure all of their readers could put them to use.  You won’t be able to make beef stew in a pumpkin for a whole year now, and by then you’ll forget about it. Sorry. I simply don’t have the time or forethought to do it ahead of time.

This is actually easier than I was anticipating. The hardest part BY FAR was carrying the pumpkin to the register and then out to my car. And for some reason I had a very strong urge to smash my own pumpkin. I didn’t, but I kept thinking in my head how fun it would be to hold it over my head and just throw it down as hard as I could.

As for the stew recipe, it is kind of beef bourguignon meets beef stew. I didn’t take exact measurements, but that’s the beauty of stew – you can follow a very loose recipe and it’s sure to turn out delicious.

Recipe

  • 1 very large pumpkin
  • 2 lb stew meat, chopped into 2-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2-3 teaspoons salt
  • 1 onion
  • Minced garlic
  • 3/4 can tomato paste (6 oz can)
  • 1/2 bottle Guiness
  • 1/2 bottle red wine
  • 3-4 cups beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground Oregano
  • Dash paprika
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3-4 tablespoons corn starch, whisked with 1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • Carrots (probably about 3 cups, chopped into 1-inch pieces)
  • Turnips, chopped (3)
  • Mushrooms, halved (1 container)

Preheat the oven to 375.  First get the stew going, then you will put the pumpkin in the oven to pre-bake.

Heat the olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat.  Generously salt the meat, then add to the pan and brown on all sides. Transfer to a plate.  Add the onion and garlic, and cook through – adding more olive oil if necessary.  Stir in the tomato paste and a pinch more salt. Pour in the beer and wine, and simmer until slightly reduced – about 10 minutes.  Add the meat back into the pan, along with enough broth to almost cover the meat, the Worcestershire, sugar, Oregano, paprika, bay leaf and pepper.  Bring to a simmer, then stir in the corn starch mixture to thicken the gravy.  Simmer on low-medium for 1.5 hours. While that cooks, you can prepare the pumpkin and rest of the vegetables.

Cut the top off the pumpkin, and scrape out and discard all the seeds and excess flesh.  Brush the pumpkin with a couple tablespoons of melted butter (inside and out), then place on a baking sheet and into the oven for 40 minutes (with lid on).

After the stew has cooked on low for 1.5 hours, add in the vegetables.  If there is excess fat on the surface you can scrape it off, and add more beef broth (or water) if you need more liquid.  Cook for 15 minutes, then transfer the stew to the pumpkin (place lid back on), and put it all in the oven for another 15-20 minutes or so. Take out of the oven and let cool for a few minutes before serving (with lots of crusty bread for the gravy).

While I was carrying this to the table I thought how even more fun it would be to smash my own pumpkin now with 76 pounds of beef stew in it.  I’m glad I didn’t though because it was delicious and we gave much of the leftovers to a very happy neighbor.