Beef & Squash Stew ~ Savory, Salt-Free & Delicious!

Who says salt-free food lacks savor and flavor?  We made a Beef Shank & Squash Stew, or thick soup over the weekend which came out delicious.  Such a satisfying meal this time of year!  In case you haven't tried, winter squash ~ especially kabocha ~ prepared with tomato is such a great match.  Perfect combo to add to a nice, warming thick stew-y beef soup.

I seasoned the beef with pepper before browning.  Then I covered it with water and added bay leaves, a couple pinches of dried rosemary, a little seaweed, and some of the vegetables to the beef shank bones to get a nice collagen, potassium, and mineral-rich, flavorful beef bone broth base.

Once it was time to add the squash and tomato paste, I actually forgot to add anymore seasoning!  However, it didn't matter.  It tasted great as the flavor of all the ingredients were able to shine, in an alchemical kinda way.  

I included some additional seasoning recommendations to the Beef Shank & Squash Stew recipe below, but feel free to adjust to your tastes.  

Since Don and I have been sharing our discoveries about the deleterious effects of salt, I thought I'd put up a recipe, sort of like an intermission from the regularly scheduled programming.

My goal is to create a Low-Sodium / Salt-Free Meats & Sweets meal plan and mini recipe book ~ independent of our Meats & Sweets ~ A High Vitality Diet, volume 2 due as soon as we can get back to it.  I hoped to complete it this year, but it's likely it will not be available until 2022.

Anyway, on with the recipe.

Kabocha squash looks like a pumpkin, but olive green, possibly with orange patches.
Look for ones that are heavy for their size.  They have a deeper orange, dense flesh.
If it's pale yellow inside, it's probably not a good one.  It won't be as sweet.

I used 4 locally raised beef shank bones, which we had in our freezer.  It produced enough Beef & Squash Stew for the two of us to enjoy for dinner for three days.  You can adjust quantities as needed, to have enough for leftovers, or to feed a bigger family, or to have extra to freeze.

You will want to prepare this in a large, heavy bottom pot, like this 3 quart Lodge enameled cast iron dutch oven pot, (also shown below) which is a more affordable alternative to Le Crueset, which produces pricier but solid, lasting cast iron enameled cookware.

Beef & Squash Stew Recipe

4 beef shanks with bones
Black pepper
Beef tallow or cooking fat of choice
1 3-4 inch piece of kelp or kombu seaweed, crumbled or cut into small pieces
Water to cover
Squeeze of lemon
2 bay leaves
Couple pinches of dried rosemary
1-2 carrots
1-2 celery stalks
1 beet, peeled and cut into chunks
1 medium, or 2 smaller russet potatoes, peeled (russet holds it's firmness, but use whatever you like)
1/4 or more of winter squash, peeled and cut into 2 inch cubes (we prefer kabocha, as it is also very dense, firm and sweet.  Cut up enough squash to make about 3 cups, give or take)
1 small can tomato paste (no added salt)
Seasoning suggestions:  cumin, paprika, pepper

Heat pot, and add enough cooking fat to lightly coat the bottom.

Season beef generously with pepper on both sides, then add to the pot to brown both sides.  I could fit three of them into the pot at a time.  Once one was brown enough, I just moved it on top of another beef shank, then added the fourth to brown.

Once browned, add enough water to cover.

Add a squeeze of lemon.  Just a little will help draw the minerals out of the bones and perk up the flavor.

Add bay leaves and rosemary.  

As soon as it comes to a boil, turn the heat down a bit, and add carrots, celery, potato and beet.  Let simmer covered for a few hours, until the beef is tender, and easily falls off the bones.

Add squash and tomato paste, and any other seasonings you would like.  Add a bit more water if needed.

Continue to simmer covered until the squash is cooked.  Smash some squash pieces against the side of the pot with the back of a spoon.  Once it's all heated through, turn the heat off and let it sit covered a few minutes before serving.

It gets even better by the next day!  Super thick!  Add a splash of water to the pot when reheating.

Beef & Squash Stew with steamed broccoli + baby bok choy seasoned with lemon and flax oil, 
Roasted Beet, Onion & Carrot, and grape juice  ~ A high potassium, Meats & Sweets High Vitality Meal!