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Chocolate beef stew with butternut squash and amaranth

January 21, 2009

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Serves 6

BEEF

2 pounds beef chuck, cut into 1-inch cubes
Salt and pepper, to taste
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 ancho chilies, seeded and snipped into 1-inch pieces
1 1/2 cups beef broth
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 pound butternut squash, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1. Sprinkle the meat generously with salt and pepper.

2. In a large flameproof casserole over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add half the beef and cook it for 4 to 5 minutes or until it is browned on all sides. Transfer to a bowl.

3. Brown the remaining beef in 1 tablespoon oil. Transfer it to the bowl.

4. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes. Add the chilies and beef broth to the pan. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover, and simmer for 1 hour.

5. With a slotted spoon, transfer the beef to a bowl, leaving the onions in the sauce.

6. In a blender, puree the sauce with the onions. Add the cocoa powder. Return the beef and sauce to the pan.

7. Add the butternut squash. Cover the pan and continue cooking for 30 to 35 minutes or until the squash is tender. Stir every 10 minutes and remove the lid for the last 5 to 10 minutes of cooking to thicken the sauce slightly.

(Total simmering time is 1 hour,

35 minutes.)

AMARANTH

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 cup amaranth
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1. In a saucepan, melt the butter. Stir in the amaranth and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes.

2. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover the pan, and simmer for 10 minutes.

3. Remove the lid and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, cover, and set aside for 10 minutes. (Total time is 32 minutes.)

4. Serve the beef stew over the amaranth.

Adapted from "Eat Feed Autumn Winter"