This stew is based on Japanese flavors. It can be braised in the oven or stewed on the stovetop.
1 1/2 – 2 lbs boneless beef chuck or other stewing meat, cut in 1-inch to 1 1/2-inch pieces
2 c (beef) broth or water
1/4 c soy sauce
1/4 c mirin; or medium-dry sherry; or 1 T sugar mixed with 1/4 c dry sherry, vermouth, white wine, or sake
10 or so thinly sliced, peeled, fresh ginger slices
black pepper, to taste
3 – 4 c (peeled) winter squash, cut into roughly 1-inch pieces
1. If oven-braising, heat the oven to 350°F. In a skillet, brown the meat over medium-high heat, in batches if necessary, for about 5 minutes. You can flip the pieces over or not. Transfer the beef to a baking dish. If stovetop stewing, brown the meat in a Dutch oven or similar pot.
2. Add the broth to the skillet, increase the heat to high, and deglaze the pan. Once all the beef scrapings have been incorporated into the broth, remove from heat and pour into the baking dish over the meat. For the Dutch oven, pour the broth over the meat and stir, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom.
3. For both vessels, add the soy sauce, mirin, ginger, and pepper. Peel the lemon, coarsely chop the peel pieces, if necessary, and add peel to mixture. As best as you can, juice the peeled lemon and reserve the juice.
4. For oven braise, cover, and put in the oven for about an hour and 15 minutes. Stir at the half hour marks. After the alloted time, check the meat. If it’s almost tender, then stir in the sqash, cover and return to oven for about 20 more minutes, until the squash and meat are both tender. For stovetop, bring to a simmer, cover and maintain a steady simmer for the same time frame as the oven. Add squash as above.
5. When the stew is ready, taste, and add more pepper, if you like. You may want to add some salt or a dash more soy sauce. Stir in the reserved lemon juice and serve.