Have you ever had Carnival Squash? Wow - so, so, so delicious! Last year I tried Curry Squash, and thought I had died and gone to heaven. This year, it's definitely Carnival Squash....sweet, nutty, full of flavor and texture. I also realized I am a squash freak...who knew?
After first tasting Curry Squash, I decided to save the seeds to plant in the summer garden. I had lovely plantings that I grew in a warm window - 10 of them. So I planted them in the garden....and they ended up growing to the enormous size of a small lemon. Ohhh what a bummer! We didn't get the summer heat we needed for them to thrive - I could have cried. As a consolation prize, I have saved some Carnival Squash seeds to try next year. Praying, next year will finally be the summer we used to be used to having. What can I say? I am hopelessly hopeful!
Next up: Beef Stew. If you read my blog, you know I love stews. Any kind of stews: Vegetarian, Beef, Chicken, even Sausage. Of all stews, Beef Stew is my favorite.
I thought I would post this recipe for three reasons. First, my daughter loved this recipe and wanted it to be on the blog. Second, of course to highlight the Carnival Squash. Third, I made this stew in a different way from any other stews I have made. It was a reduction, no flour to thicken the sauce, and so far this is the best one yet.
CHUNKY BEEF STEW REDUCTION:
1 1/2 lbs. antibiotic free naturally raised beef stew
3 Tblsp. rendered bacon fat
1 onion roughly chopped
5 minced garlic cloves
8-10 crimini mushrooms, sliced in half
3 carrots, sliced in 1 inch chunks, on the diagonal
handful of roughly chopped Fresh Flat Leaf Italian Parsley
handful of fresh green beans, sliced in half
2 1/2 cups whole tomatoes and juice - cut up the tomatoes into chunks
1 glass of red wine
1 large Bay Leaf
1 1/2 tsp. dried Thyme
salt and pepper
Heat up a dutch oven on medium heat, adding in the rendered bacon drippings to melt. Once melted, and the pan is heated, add in the stewing beef, in batches, to brown. Season with salt and pepper. Once all of the meat has browned, remove to a plate and set aside. You may need to add a dash of olive oil to the pan. Then add in the mushrooms, and saute until they are golden. Then add in the chopped onion, season with salt and pepper, continuing to saute until the onions are soft and translucent.
Add in the minced garlic, stirring until fragrant. Then pour in the wine, scraping up any brown bits, and bring to a good simmer.
Pour in the tomatoes and juice, adding in the bay leaf, thyme, chunky carrots, parsley, stirring to combine.
Cover with a lid, turn down to a simmer, and simmer for 1 1/2 hrs. Meanwhile, slice the Carnival Squash in half. This is one tough squash to cut, so please take great care with a sharp knife. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Scoop out the seeds of the squash, then add the squash to a roasting pan. Drizzle generously with Olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Place the squash into the pan, cut side down, and roast for 1 to 1 1/2 hrs. in the oven until tender.
At the 1 hr. mark for the stew, remove the lid, and turn up to a low medium simmer, lid off. Let reduce, stirring from time to time for another 20 minutes. Then add the sliced green beans continuing to simmer for 5-10 minutes - by then the sauce should be nice and reduced.
Serve steaming hot, with the roasted Carnival Squash, trust me, you won't miss the potatoes. 🙂