Catalan-Style Beef Ragout with Roasted Squash

The Moors introduced citrus fruits and warm spices to the Catalonian region of northern Spain. These ingredients are used here to provide distinctive flavor and the perfect complement to the beef and squash.

Catalan-Style Beef Ragout with Roasted Squash

1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
4 slices bacon, chopped
1 1/2 lb. beef stew meat, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces, patted dry
3 cups chopped onions
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon toasted fennel seeds, crushed*
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 large bay leaf
1 cup dry red wine or additional beef broth
1/4 cup lower-sodium beef broth
1 1/2 teaspoons grated orange peel
1/2 teaspoon plus 1/4 teaspoon salt, divided
5 cups cubed (1 1/2 inch) butternut squash (about 2 1/2 lb.)

1. Heat 1/4 cup of the oil in large nonreactive Dutch oven over medium heat until hot. Add bacon; cook 4 minutes or until crisp and brown, stirring occasionally. Remove bacon. Add beef; cook over medium-high heat 4 to 5 minutes, turning to brown all sides. Remove beef.

2. Add onions; reduce heat to medium. Cook 10 minutes or until soft, stirring occasionally and reducing heat if necessary. Meanwhile, combine oregano, cinnamon, pepper, cloves and fennel seeds in small cup. Add garlic, bay leaf and spice mixture to onions; cook 1 minute or until fragrant, stirring constantly. Add wine, broth and orange peel; bring to a boil. Return beef and bacon with any accumulated juices to Dutch oven. Cover; reduce heat to low.

3. Simmer 2 to 2 1/2 hours or until beef is fork-tender; stir in 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. (Stew can be prepared to this point 2 days ahead; cover and refrigerate.)

4. Meanwhile, heat oven to 400°F. Toss squash with remaining 1 tablespoon oil in large bowl to coat. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt; arrange on large rimmed baking sheet. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until tender.

5. Remove bay leaf; skim any grease from surface of stew. Gently stir in roasted squash. If necessary, heat 10 to 20 minutes or until stew and squash are hot.

4 (1 1/2-cup) servings

PER SERVING: 695 calories, 47 g total fat (14 g saturated fat), 37.5 g protein, 30.5 g carbohydrate, 125 mg cholesterol, 750 mg sodium, 7 g fiber

TIP *Toast fennel seeds in small dry skillet over medium heat, 1 minute or until lightly browned and fragrant, stirring occasionally. Cool. Crush with mortar and pestle, spice grinder or in plastic bag with flat side of meat mallet.

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