I’m not sure if it was my grandfather or my mother who coined the term, but growing up we always had “schtoup” — not quite a stew but not quite a soup. And basically it was anything that we had in the fridge, thrown in a pot with some broth. Often we’d thicken it with a roux.
However, since I no longer eat grain, it’s become a bit of a challenge to try and thicken things without flour. But I’m not one to give up. (For instance, I once played the same board on Angry Birds 83 times before I beat it. Wait, that just makes me pathetic.) I’ve used arrowroot and Xantham gum and while those have their places in certain recipes, I used a trick of my mother’s for thickening this stew: pureed squash.
It keeps the schtoup healthful and hearty while thickening the broth without any added refined flours. I used the following but you can really use any vegetables/meat combination you like. This made a full crockpot, which was my goal since it’s nearing the time to start freezing food for the winter (Hey, this is my first Midwestern winter coming. I don’t plan on leaving the house much. Or wearing anything other than sweats. My poor husband.
What I used:
1-2 lb grassfed stew meat, seared briefly (I use my cast iron skillet for this)
3 stalks celery, sliced
1 onion, chopped
1-lb bag of carrots, peeled and sliced
1/2 head of cabbage
8 oz frozen green beans
1-2 russet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste
enough beef stock to cover all the ingredients (minus the potatoes), about 5-7 c.
1 medium butternut squash
What I did:
Put all ingredients in a crockpot, cover with broth. Set on high for 6 hours or low for 8. When making any stew, especially in a crockpot, I recommend adding the potatoes during the last hour. Otherwise, they fall apart completely.
Cook the squash before hand or the day before so you can handle it and puree it. Easy way: slice in half, scoop seeds, wrap loosely in plastic wrap (too tight and it will pop), and microwave for 5-6 minutes or until cooked soft. When cooled, scoop out flesh and use an immersion (or regular) blender or food processor to puree:
Right before it’s done, stir in the pureed squash:
Let thicken for 10-15 minutes and eat!