A thick and hearty stew filled with fall flavors perfect for those chilly evenings.
It is that time of the year where the garden is coming to an end with just a few stragglers hanging on. Today I picked the last of the tomatoes, some herbs, a pumpkin, and a handful of onions. This may sound like a random array but isn’t that the best thing about soups and stews. You can pretty much throw anything into them, and they will come out perfect.
What spice goes well with pumpkin? For me, that’s cinnamon! Cinnamon gives food warmth, adds a natural sweetness, and mixes in a depth of flavor that is irresistible in this stew. I use a teaspoon of cinnamon for this recipe, but if you are not used to using cinnamon in savory dishes you might need to adjust it a bit. It is such a distinctive flavor it might require easing into.
Do not throw any of that pumpkin away. Did you know you can eat every part of the plant? Pumpkin flowers, leaves, stems, seeds, flesh, even the skin are all edible. Some varieties are better for eating than other. Your smaller pie pumpkins are sweeter than your heirloom varieties, but all are edible. The harder varieties, like butternut or Queensland blue, are better for soups and stews. Soft varieties tend to make the soup watery.
Beef and Pumpkin Stew
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 pounds beef stew meat cut into 1” cubes
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 small pumpkin peeled and cut into 1” cubes
- 4 cups vegetable broth divided
- 4 – 5 tomatoes peeled and sliced
- 8 ounces tomato sauce
- 1 can (14 ounces) garbanzo beans, undrained
- 1 cup orzo pasta
- 3 teaspoons salt
- 1½ teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ancho chile powder
- ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- ¼ cup roasted & salted pumpkin seeds optional
- 2 – 3 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
- In a 4-quart Dutch oven heat the oil over medium-high heat. Brown the beef on all sides, about 5 minutes. Remove beef and keep warm.
- Add the onion to the Dutch oven and sauté until tender, about 6 minutes. Stir in the garlic and sauté for another minute.
- Return the beef to the Dutch oven. Add 2 cups of vegetable broth and bring to a slow boil. Reduce heat to low and let simmer for 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, bring a saucepan of water to a rolling boil. Carefully, add 2 – 3 tomatoes to the water and let boil until the skin cracks, about 1 minute. Immediately place in cold water. Repeat until all the tomatoes have been processed. Set aside. Cut the pumpkin in half, discarding the pulp, but reserving the seeds. Cut the pumpkin into slices that are easy to peel. Cut into 1” chunks. Set aside.
- After an hour, add the pumpkin, tomatoes, tomato sauce, garbanzo beans, orzo, and spices to the Dutch oven. Stir in the remaining 2 cups of vegetables broth. Bring to a slow boil then reduce to heat to low. Let simmer for another hour.
- If you are choosing to use the pumpkin seeds, roast them during this time.
- Stir the stew and taste. Season with additional salt and pepper, if needed. Serve in bowls and garnish with the pumpkin seeds and parsley.