This past week has been cold here in Ottawa. Real cold. That biting kind of cold that gets through your coat and multiple layers of clothing right into your bones. When it is that cold outside, all you want to eat is comfort food. Now for me, comfort food usually consists of lots of carbs; pasta and bread immediately come to mind, but in trying to eat healthier, I have decided to forgo the big bowl of spaghetti and make a stew instead.
A few weeks ago Jamie and I were browsing around in one of our favourite stores, and of course, I cannot be in a book store and not purchase a book or two. I always find myself drawn to the cookbook section of the store; however, with our recent downsizing to a smaller apartment with a smaller kitchen, I really don’t have a lot of extra room for more cookbooks. However, as I was browsing around, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the Paleo cookbook section has grown in size. I used to be lucky if I could find one or two cookbooks for this lifestyle, but this trend has taken off, and there had to be 20 different cookbooks on the shelf.
So, I decided to buy a new cookbook, and would force it onto my shelf. I have no regrets about my purchase, as this Paleo cookbook has a lot of recipes that compliment the Make It Paleo cookbook that I have been using, pretty much non-stop, since we received it last year.
When we got home, I curled up on the couch and started to read. This book is great, as it is packed with a lot of nutition information as well as meal plans and an extensive recipe collection.
So, back to it being cold. In this new cookbook, there are a lot of recipes that use the slow cooker. I love this kitchen appliance for winter meals. There is nothing like coming home from work and having your home smell like dinner. Awesome!
This recipe caught my attention, as it used butternut squash in this dish. I normally only use butternut squash in soup, I have never used it in a stew or in the slow cooker. So, I took many, many liberties with the original recipe and came up with this Butternut Squash Stew.
This recipe is barely recognizable from the one I found in the cookbook, but I thought it still deserved the credit, as it put me on the path to making this amazing winter warm up meal.
The butternut squash added a bit of sweetness to the stew. It complimented the beef and peppers and brought some balance into the dish. I love the idea of being able to use one of my favourite winter vegetables in another way.
So, I recommend that you pull out that slow cooker that you received as a wedding present, dust it off and give this a try. I promise you won’t regret it. It was pretty delicious the next day too!
Practical Paleo – Bison & Butternut Cocoa Chili
Diane Sanfilippo, BS, NC
- 3 cloves garlic, diced
- 3 tbsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper powder
- 1 1/2 tsp red chili flakes
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- 1 – 28oz can diced tomatoes
- 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and diced
- 1/2 yellow bell pepper, chopped
- 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 lb stewing beef
- 2 cups butternut squash, peeled and cut into cubes
- 1 large sweet onion, chopped
- In a bowl, mix the garlic, chili powder, cayenne pepper, chili flakes, salt and pepper with the tomatoes.
- Place the stewing beef, onion, jalapeño and bell peppers with the butternut squash in the slow-cooker and cover with the tomato and spice mixture.
- Cover and cook on low for 6 – 8 hours.
- Serve with a fresh salad and enjoy!