Make the perfect melt in your mouth and tender beef and butternut squash stew, made with stewing beef, butternut squash and peas. Cook it low and slow in the oven for two hours for the most delicious stew ever!
There is nothing better than a delicious beef stew. Especially on a cold day and the stew has your entire apartment smelling like amazing, and where the beef is so tender that it literally melts in your mouth. That’s my kind of stew.
There are a few secrets to achieving the perfect stew, it’s why stewing is the technique that I’m starting off my 8-weeks to better cooking with. (Have you signed up yet? It’s not too late!).
Stewing is a fail-proof technique; it’s almost impossible to overcook a stew. The idea is that the longer you cook it, the more tender it becomes. You do need to be more careful with the vegetables, but that’s why using a sturdier vegetable like butternut squash works so well in this stew recipe.
Over the years I’ve shared many slow cooker stew recipes, but this beef stew is made in the oven. While you could definitely adapt it for the slow cooker I’m very partial to cooking stews in the oven these days.
How long do you cook beef stew in the oven?
This beef stew cooks for two hours in the oven at 250F. I found any higher temperature lead to the beef being tough and the butternut squash breaking down completely, so I wouldn’t go any higher than 250F. This stew cooks for an hour and a half covered and uncovered for another 30 minutes. This allows the liquid to reduce a little bit more and the stew to thicken.
What’s the best way to thicken beef stew?
To thicken this stew, I do three things:
- Dust the beef in flour before searing it.
- Stir in one tablespoon of flour when you’re caramelizing the tomato paste and cooking the garlic.
- At the very end, if it’s still not thick enough, use a beurre manié to thicken the stew. A beurre manié is a mixture of equal parts softened butter and flour. To thicken using this technique, bring your stew to a simmer, and add the beurre manié in small chunks. As the butter melts, this will thicken the stew and give it a velvety finish.
Peas, a very tender vegetable get thrown in right at the end. They don’t need to cook and simply need to be heated up with the stew. I like to add peas because they add a hit of brightness and fresh flavour, but if you’re not a fan of peas you can definitely leave them out.
Let me know if you give this beef and butternut squash stew recipe in the comments below.