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Perfect for Fall Pumpkin Stew

Can you believe it's already November? The weather has been really wonky here in Connecticut. We had some snow last week, this morning was freezing, and later on this week we are supposed to be reaching temperatures in the 60s!

Planning for cooler weather, and inspired by a song R has learned in school, I made Pumpkin Stew for dinner last night. It was perfect because the recipe I found here, was for a slow cooker, which meant I was able to start dinner in the morning and we all enjoyed it after trick or treating!

Pumpkin Stew

You Need:
1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil
1-2 pounds of stew beef (we bought the pre-cut kind)
1 small pie pumpkin, peeled and cubed
3 small red potatoes, peeled and cubed 
1 small acorn squash (also known as winter squash), peeled and cubed
1 onion, chopped (I used minced onion to save time)
4 cups of beef broth (you can buy already made, we used bouillon)
1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes
2 bay leaves
2 garlic cloves, minced (I used garlic powder)
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 cup water
3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour

Now, I have never cooked with an acorn squash or a pie pumpkin, so I wasn't too sure what to look for. Thankfully, there is such a thing as internet searches and each one was labeled in the store. 

A Picture of an Acorn Squash and Pie Pumpkin for Reference

1- In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Brown the beef (in batches if necessary), remove with a slotted spoon, and add it straight to your slow cooker. Add the pumpkin, potatoes, squash, and onion. Stir in the broth, tomatoes, spices, and bay leaves. Cover and cook on low for  6-8 hours, until the meat is tender.

2- Remove the lid from the slow cooker and retrieve the bay leaves. In a small bowl mix the water and flour until smooth, creating a roux. Stir the roux into the stew. Replace the cover and cook the stew on high for another 30 minutes to allow the liquid to thicken. 

Before you try this recipe, I would like to point out that you should allow yourself at least an hour for prep work. The acorn squash we got was easy to cut and peel (I cut it in half, removed the seeds and strings and then peeled each half), but others have mentioned having a hard time peeling the squash. Some people don't even peel it, but I thought it was better for this recipe to peel.
The pumpkin, was a giant pain in the rear. I was convinced (by internet research) that it would be too hard to peel with a vegetable peeler, so I found instructions on how to make peeling a pumpkin easier. It would have worked well, but I left my pumpkin in too long and ended up having really soft pumpkin for my stew.  The hardest part of the preparation is probably removing the pumpkin seeds and strings, but all of the hard work is totally worth the end product! 


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