As my husband was walking out the door the other day, on the first truly chilly day of the season, he said “hey, you know what sounds great for dinner tonight? A good, beef stew!” Well, I had a pot roast in the fridge that I had planned to cook in the crock pot all day with root vegetables and a butternut squash. As it happens, those are the basic ingredients of a good beef stew (less the squash). And, half of my children don’t like anything resembling soup unless it’s “chicken and stars” by a certain well-known canned brand. But they do like my pot roast. So I had the idea to cook once, but make two dishes. It turned out great and everyone was happy.
Pot Roast Stew
- 1 pot roast, large enough to fit in a crock pot
- Root vegetables of your choice such as carrots, celery, onions, garlic, parsnip and potato
- 1 Butternut or acorn squash, cut in half, seeds removed. (Note: Instead of potatoes, I made the squash and mashed it up, serving it in place of potatoes)
- 1 cup of beef broth
- 1 can of tomato sauce
- 1/2 cup red wine
- salt and pepper to taste
- Herbs you like such as rosemary, oregano, bay leaf and thyme – add them to your liking.
- Place sliced onions and chopped garlic on the bottom of the crockpot.
- Place meat on top of the onions (you can brown the meat first, if you want, but it isn’t essential).
- Place vegetables (except squash if using) on top of the meat.
- Pour the liquids on top of the three layers.
- If using squash, place it cut side down on top of the veggies.
- Put the lid on and cook everything on “low”, all day or at least 7 hours.
- When everything is done, remove the squash, scoop out the pulp and mash, mixing with a little butter or olive oil if you wish.
- Remove the veggies and cut some up for those who want stew. Keep them whole for those who want pot roast.
- Remove the meat and shred some for stew. Save bigger chunks for pot roast.
- Ladle the broth over the stew until it is as soupy as you want. Put the rest in a gravy bowl for gravy for the pot roast (I did thicken the gravy broth with a slurry of white flour mixed with ice cold water.)
- Top the stew with a generous dollop of mashed squash. This adds a pretty pop of yellow/orange to the stew.
- Serve both dishes with some crusty bread!
Note: Another variation is to make just the pot roast version, save leftovers and put them in a baking dish, topped with pie crust or biscuits for “pot pie” for a later meal. I often freeze the leftovers of a pot roast meal for a quick pot pie when I need something quick on a cold day.