2 lbs beef stew meat, cut into large chunks
2 tbsp flour
1 onion, diced finely
5-6 cloves garlic, minced
4-5 stalks celery, chopped
3 carrots, cut into spears
3 cups chicken broth
3 oz tomato paste
1 lb butternut squash, cubed
- In a large mixing bowl, evenly coat the meat with the flour. Don't skip this step! Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
- In a large pot, brown the garlic and onions very well. Add a 1/2 tsp of salt to get the party started. Add more salt as needed when you taste the stew going forward. Add the fresh herbs. Add pepper.
- In a large pan, brown the meat very well on all sides, over high heat. Don't be lazy. Get the beef nice and dark and crispy even! It should really look delicious. You might have to do it in batches. Once the pan is empty, deglaze with a splash of chicken stock.
- Add the beef and pan liquids to the pot, stir and cook over low-medium heat.
- Meanwhile, chop the carrots and celery and add to the pot as ready.
- Cover and cook over low-medium heat for a bit until it starts smelling and looking tasty and flavorful and integrated. Like maybe 10-20 minutes, feel it out. Stir it from time to time.
- Once it kinda looks and smells delicious enough to eat as-is, add the chicken broth, enough to cover the meat.
- Once the chicken broth is simmering, stir in the tomato paste thoroughly.
- Cover and cook for about 1.5-2 hours, stirring occasionally. You want to add the butternut squash somewhere in the last 30ish minutes. If you don't mind the squash being broken down, there's leeway. Start checking on the meat after about 1.5 hours of cooking and continue monitoring its tenderness. The meat will go from barely edible to acceptable to fall off fork tender quickly in the last half hour. Once it's tender, it's done. Cooking too long has a parabolic effect whereby the tissues break down too much and the meat loses its moisture.
- Serve with parmesan cheese!