A few months ago I shared with you this yummy spicy beef stew recipe which we thoroughly enjoyed pretty much the way the recipe was written. But trying to serve this dish in the middle of the summer was not as easy. Winter squash is apparently only available in the winter around here. I made a snap decision at the grocery store, bought some very large sweet potatoes and then decided to prepare them on the grill -- making this a summer-friendly meal. The stew cooked on the stovetop, keeping the kitchen fairly cool (as opposed to heating the oven), and the potatoes and corn roasted on the grill.
My family enjoyed the flavor and texture of the sweet potato much more so than the squash (which is saying something because they really raved over this dish originally), and I really enjoyed preparing much of it outdoors.
I am re-posting the recipe with my summer changes. I altered the method of cooking the stew only slightly, braising the meat first and then cooking the stew on the stovetop, as well as using sweet potato halves instead of squash halves for the boats. If you would like to serve roasted corn with this dish, you can find the recipe here.
1 1/2 lbs. beef for stew
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 T. brown sugar
2 T. balsamic vinegar
1 chipotle pepper minced and 1 T. adobo sauce
1 t. ground cumin
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. ground black pepper
3 large sweet potatoes, halved
1 medium tomato, chopped
1 small ripe avocado, cut into cubes, optional
1/4 cup freshly chopped cilantro leaves
Heat oil in a large dutch oven over medium high heat and braise beef until browned. Season with salt and pepper as beef cooks. Add water, tomato paste, sugar, vinegar, chipotle pepper, cumin. Cook stew over medium low heat for 2 hours, or until beef is tender and sauce is slightly thickened. Add water if necessary to keep sauce from cooking up.
Halfway through stew's cooking time, cut sweet potatoes lengthwise in half. Brush cut sides with olive oil. Place sweet potatoes on a preheated grill over low heat and cook for 30 to 40 minutes until tender when poked with a fork.
Place each sweet potato half onto serving plate. Top with equal amounts of beef mixture. Top with tomato and avocado, and sour cream, if desired. Sprinkle with cilantro.
Source: modified from the Food Network