When I pulled this guy out of the oven, I thought it was a total failure. I pierced the squash cubes with a fork to check if they were done and they crumbled to pieces. Overcooked for sure. No recovery, and definitely no chance it would be blog worthy.
But then I tasted it…and completely changed my mind.
To the eye it’s a bit of a burnt orange mess, but to the tongue, it’s restaurant quality (if I do say so myself!). I was going for a chunky, tagine-style stew, (kinda like this one), but because I cut my squash a little too small and my beef a little too big, the squash ended up melting – in the best way.
After a few stirs, I was left with a deliciously velvety curry sauce, no coconut milk, cream or thickener necessary. Win!
Not only that, but the 2-hour cook time created beautifully tender, melt-in your-mouth beef and infused the squash with serious flavor from the warm, zingy spice blend. Tender. Velvety. Zingy. All good things.
I’ll be real though, you’re gonna have to cut me some slack in the titling department. Whether or not there is there such thing as Moroccan curry is up for debate. But this dish is creamy like curry, and it’s zesty, earthy and sweet like Moroccan food. So if you’re cool with it, I’m cool with it ;).
And there you have it. Another invaluable life lesson learned in the kitchen today: Forget what you expected, because what you get might be even better.
- 4 Tbsp lard (or other high-heat cooking fat)
- 3 lbs. beef roast, cut into 2-3-inch cubes
- 1 large butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 large leek, chopped small
- 1 Tbsp tomato paste
- 4 cups bone broth
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 ½ tsp cumin
- 1 tsp coriander
- 1 tsp turmeric
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp curry powder
- ½ tsp ginger
- ½ tsp cayenne
- bay leaf
- 1 tsp sea salt, plus more to season beef
- 1 tsp black pepper, plus more to season beef
- Chopped fresh cilantro for garnish
- Preheat oven to 280 degrees F.
- Sprinkle beef cubes with salt and pepper.
- Working in batches, heat 1 Tbsp lard at a time in Dutch oven medium-high heat and brown beef cubes on top and bottom, about 2 minutes per side. Careful not to crowd the pan!
- Once browned, transfer beef to plate.
- Heat remaining 1 Tbsp lard in Dutch oven and add leek. Cook until soft, about 3 minutes. (If you’ve got lots of browned bits to scrape up, add a few Tbsps broth here.)
- Add tomato paste, spices and bay leaf and sauté until aromatic, about 30 seconds.
- Then stir in the chicken stock and toss in the butternut squash and beef.
- Bring to a simmer, then cover and place in preheated oven.
- IMPORTANT: You want to maintain a gentle simmer, so check on it after 20 minutes or so to make sure it’s bubbling. If not, crank the heat up to 300.
- Cook for 2 hours or until beef is tender and squash is easily mashed up.
- Top with chopped fresh cilantro and serve with mashed cauliflower (like I did), cauliflower rice or white rice.
You could certainly adapt this for the slow cooker, but I’m sorry to say there’s just no substitute for the flavor you get from browning the meat and scraping the yummy bits from the bottom of the Dutch oven.
Try it! You’ll like it!