WINTER SQUASH BEEF STEW

December 23, 2014

For the past three years, I have written a recipe for a Hobbiton-feeling dish and included an unsolicited review of the latest The Hobbit movie. If you do not care about said film, press on to a warm & cozy winter squash soup recipe – good for non-Tolkien fans too.

This is the last Middle Earth movie Peter Jackson says he will make. Oh, the emotions. Let’s get it out of the way that The Battle of the Five Armies was not going to be as good as any of the Lord of the Rings movies. It COULD have been, but with the way The Hobbit trilogy was going, my expectations were not in that ballpark. They were in more like a Pirates of the Caribbean ballpark. (That is a moderate diss, but I do like Pirates. It is just not Lord of the Rings.)

I did not know how the story ended and managed to preserve my desired ignorance by nearly constantly chanting NO SPOILERS PLEASE for the first half of December. (Now is the best time to warn you – spoilers ahead in this post!) I even took the day off working on the blog to take a nap so as to be really sharp for the premiere.

If I may do something that will set the movie up for failure, I would like to compare it to Helm’s Deep in The Two Towers. What a terrifically portrayed battle. Emotionally, you are all there and by the end you are drained because you have been so effectively brought along on the journey with the people of the Rohirrim. It was long and had a lot of fight sequences, but was anything but boring. Even for “chicks” or whatever. That is what needed to be captured in The Battle of the Five Armies. And it was not. The storytelling was disjointed and confusing, with too many climaxes in weird ways. And too much of Tauriel talking and existing.

My husband hated the part when Legolas defied gravity by skipping across the falling rocks. That really did not bother me much because Legs also walked across the top of snow in Fellowship, which is equally impossible by our standards. I would join him however, in observing that it seemed like Peter Jackson took to heart that everyone thought it was triple awesome when Legolas took down two Oliphants in Return of the King, so he was like, “oh! I will do different things like that 10 times in Five Armies!” And it felt played out. But little boys probably loved it.

Quick side note. It has been my pet peeve whenever anyone has offered a criticism on The Hobbit, that often the response explanation is some shade of “Tolkien actually wrote this as more of a book for children.” Like they are saying something profound no one has ever heard before. I KNOW it was a story more for children. That is not an adequate response to address anything bad anyone could ever say about the film. It could still have been, well, good. To pretentiously quote C.S. Lewis, ” A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.” To be clear, I am directing this comment not to Tolkien’s book, but rather Jackson’s film.

I left The Hobbit trilogy with a sigh of drawn out disappointment. (What an emo sentence.) I must confess I was not as excited to write this review as I was for the others (or am to talk about the LOTR trilogy generally). I think I am just Hobbit jaded now. You can only handle so much of having off the chart hopes that are shattered by a she-elf, scattered narrative, and out of place crude jokes. I will still probably watch it every couple years, especially when my son is of sword fighting age. But it will be the sort of thing where I put Five Armies on for him while I go clean the house or work on this blog, or, I don’t know, file things? Then when Dad gets home we will all watch Fellowship with laser focus and probably tears of sentimentality on my part.

I leave with a note to Peter (seriously what is wrong with me?). Thank you for the Lord of the Rings movies, which I will treasure for my whole life. I found The Hobbit  lame and have torn it to shreds at times, but your gift of the original trilogy will always have you cemented as a rockstar in my book. And hey, thank you genuinely for even giving The Hobbit a try.

You can find my review of Desolation of Smaug (with Cherry Kuchen Bars recipe) here and The Unexpected Journey (with Hobbit’s Vegetable & Beef Pie recipe) here.

WINTER SQUASH & BEEF STEW from Rachel Schulzt 3WINTER SQUASH BEEF STEW
Serves 5-6

2 pound chuck roast, cubed
2 tablespoons (wheat) flour
2 potatoes, cubed
3 carrots, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, diced
1 acorn squash, peeled and cubed
1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1 tablespoon Worcestershire
1 tablespoon dried thyme
3 cups beef broth
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon butter
Olive oil
Salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Drizzle butternut squash and acorn squash with olive oil. Season with salt & pepper. Arrange in an even layer on a baking sheet. Roast for 30 minutes. Toss chuck roast in flour and season with salt & pepper. Brown in a stock pot over medium heat with butter.  Add potatoes, garlic, carrot, and onion to stock pot. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add Worcestershire, thyme, broth, balsamic vinegar, and roasted squashes to pot. Simmer on low for 25-30 minutes. Season with salt & pepper.
WINTER SQUASH BEEF STEW from Rachel Schultz

WINTER SQUASH BEEF STEW
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 2 pound chuck roast, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons (wheat) flour
  • 2 potatoes, cubed
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 acorn squash, peeled and cubed
  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 1 tablespoon worcestershire
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Drizzle butternut squash and acorn squash with olive oil. Season with salt & pepper. Arrange in an even layer on a baking sheet. Roast for 30 minutes.
  3. Toss chuck roast in flour and season with salt & pepper. Brown in a stock pot over medium heat with butter.
  4. Add potatoes, garlic, carrot, and onion to stock pot. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Add worcestershire, thyme, broth, balsamic vinegar, and roasted squashes to pot.
  6. Simmer on low for 25-30 minutes. Season with salt & pepper.

 

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Comments

  • VeeSue

    I made this stew today with my octogenarian mother (not that age has anything to do with making stew) and we both love it! So, that is two generations accounted for. I love the flavor of thyme and find it very comforting. At any rate, the stew is wonderful and I will make it many times and plan on memorizing it and wowing my daughter-n-law with my cooking skills….will give credit where credit is much due (Rachel). I seem to be able to always count on this web site for a great recipe!

    • Rachel Schultz

      Thank you!! So glad to hear it.

  • True that about the The Hobbit: BOTFA. I left for the city here in our place to go watch it, expecting it to be epic since it was the last installment. But at the end of the movie, I was a little bit dazed. I wanted to want to go buy the LOTR DVDs just to erase all the things I just saw.

    But, anyway, we thank the great PJ for giving The Hobbit life.

    And I am new to your website and I love it (especially that there’s a lot of food to it.) You just got yourself a new fan.

    Happy holidays!

    • Rachel Schultz

      Thanks John!

  • I would agree about feeling a tad jaded with The Hobbit film trilogy – they are a little too drawn out for my taste even though I loved the LOTR trilogy. When I was in college, I made my friends a “Hobbit dinner” composed of shepherd’s pie and lembas shortbread cookies before the Desolation of Smaug release. This winter squash beef stew would have been a great addition!

    • Rachel Schultz

      Lembas shortbread!! Yum

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