Preheat oven to 500°. Dry short ribs on paper towels and sprinkle with 1 tsp. each salt and pepper. In a large, heavy ovenproof pot, heat 1 tbsp. oil over medium-high heat. In 4 batches, brown ribs all over. Transfer to a bowl.
Cut squash wedges crosswise, put on a baking sheet, and toss with remaining oil. Roast until caramelized, 10 minutes. Remove from oven and lower heat to 300°.
Add onions and remaining 1 tsp. salt to pot and cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add flour and cook, stirring, until deep golden brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and cocoa; cook 1 minute. Stir in broth and brandy. Add dried cranberries, ginger, and orange zest and bring mixture to a boil. Return short ribs to pot, cover, and bake 2 1/2 hours.
Remove pot from oven and spoon off fat. (Or chill overnight before skimming; return to a simmer before continuing.) Stir in fresh cranberries and kabocha. Cover and bake until kabocha is tender and meat pulls away from the bone, about 30 minutes.
*Ask your butcher to cut the short ribs. To make squash easier to cut and peel, poke it all over with a fork, then microwave 2 to 3 minutes.
this is amazing stew! I originally got the recipe reprinted in our co-op newsletter and realized it was missing directions for several ingredients. I was so thankful to find it still online! A really rich, comforting stew served with rice. I used stew meat because I couldn't get short ribs and used different squash because it's what I had. Great flavors and will make again and again.
WOWSA! What a great stew for a cold winter evening! I forgot to get fresh cranberries but had the dried so just used that. Dumped the whole thing in a slow cooker and went to work. What a meal when we got home! Husband ate so much his tummy hurt! Will remember the fresh cranberries next time, as that will only make it better, I'm sure. Served with homemade buttermilk buscuits. Messy to make but oh-so-good!
OH GOD,PLEASE LET THIS STEW BE SERVED IN HEAVEN!!There really isn't anything else I can say as my fellow cooks have stollen my thunder.My husband went back for THIRDS even after I told him how many calories are in each serving.I used a sugar pie pumpkin instead of the squash,and made the stew in 2 steps over 24hrs.Chilling the stew really makes it easy to remove the exess fat and does make the flavors meld.I also would like to commend the reviewers who called out the "chef/cook" and "grey stew".I e-mailed this recipe to one of my best friends who IS a Cordin Blue trained and certified CHEF and she said she envied the chef who came up with this recipe.She said the grey stew came from using a candy bar instead of baking cocoa and that the "chef" probably never really made it and that line cooks dump red wine on beef every chance they get.So there,naysayers! This is so good,so beatiful to look at and would make a great Thanksgiving dish for people who don't like turkey.Make this stew!!