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Author Notes: This recipe was inspired by a variation on Shepherd’s Pie in Eating Well Magazine. They substituted mashed squash for the potatoes, and spinach for the peas. I liked the new ingredients, but didn’t like the pie’s texture, nor the fact that it used too many pans. (I wash dishes by hand & always take this into account.) I wondered if I could make a one-pot recipe with a similar flavor profile that hopefully tasted even better. I substituted ground bison for the beef (one of my favorite meats), chunks of butternut squash for the squash puree (more flavor & lovely texture), real garlic instead of powdered (obviously) & chose a tomato-broth base. The result is a simple stew that takes less than an hour to make from start to finish, and although the ingredient list is short, is full of flavor. A couple of tips: if you don’t make your own vegetable broth, get a jar of Organic Better than Bouillon – it makes a quick & flavorful broth. Also, if the thought of peeling a butternut squash makes you wince, buy yourself a Kuhn Rikon Swiss Peeler. It glides over the curves of the squash with ease & it will change your life! (Or at least be the best $5 you ever spent.) —Phoenix Helix
tablespoon olive oil
large onion (peeled & chopped)
head of garlic (peeled & minced)
pounds ground bison
pounds butternut squash (peeled & cubed)
ounces canned tomato sauce (I like Muir Glen)
cups vegetable broth
teaspoon sea salt
ounces fresh baby spinach
- Chop onion & garlic & place in large soup pot with olive oil. Cook over medium heat for a few minutes, to soften.
- Add bison & brown both sides, cutting meat into chunks in the process.
- Add tomato sauce, broth & salt. Bring to boil & then reduce to simmer.
- Peel & de-seed squash. Chop into cubes & add to pot. Simmer for 30 minutes
- Add baby spinach last, cooking for just 1-2 minutes, until wilted.