Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Pressure Cooker Beef Stew

My grandmother just moved out of her old apartment and in the process gave me boxes and boxes of kitchen items. Included in these boxes was my grandma's famous pressure cooker. Famous, mostly, for making grandma's chicken. I am still working the grandma's chicken recipe to perfect it before posting, but I wanted to give you a taste of my excitement about the pressure cooker.

It cooks things in minutes! It is amazing! Go get a pressure cooker!

Okay, now that that is out of my system, I can tell you that the first attempt at grandma's chicken was a success and got me interested in learning more about the pressure cooker. So, while my mother was in town in past weekend visiting, we tried the pressure cooker for a beef stew. It turned out wonderfully and in less than a third of the time for a stew in the oven.

I adapted two recipes, the first from Busy Cooks and the other from the Yankee Pot Roast in Pressure Cooking for Everyone by Rick Rodgers and Arlene Ward. Here is what we did:

Pressure Cooker Beef Stew

What You Need

- 1-1/2 lbs. beef stew meat cut into cubes
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 Tbsp. oil
- 2 cups beef broth
- 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp. dried marjoram leaves
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 onion, cut into 8 wedges
- 2 bay leaves
- 5 carrots, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 4 potatoes, unpeeled, cut into 1 inch chunks
- 3 stalks celery, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes, undrained
- 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. pepper
- 2 Tbsp. butter (unsalted)
- 2 Tbsp. flour

What You Do:
1. Coat meat with flour.
2. Heat oil in pressure cooker over medium heat.
3. Add the meat and cook uncovered until well browned, stirring occasionally.
4. Transfer meat to a plate.
5. Add the onion and garlic and cook until soft, about 3 minutes.
6. Add the bay leaves.
7. Add beef broth (hot or at room temp), Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, and marjoram. Scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon.
8. Return meat to the pot.
9. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
10. Close cover and bring to high pressure, then pressure cook for 15 minutes. (High pressure means the button on the pressure cooker pops up! It is very cool to see this happen).
11. Remove from heat, reduce pressure, and remove cover. (I reduced pressure by opening the vent to remove steam, you can also run the pot under cold water).
12. Add the vegetables (including diced tomatoes and their juices), salt, and pepper.
13. Close cover and return to high pressure, then cook 15 more minutes. (The recipes called for 5 minutes but we like the veggies really tender).
14. Remove from heat, reduce pressure, and remove cover. (You could stop here but we wanted to thicken the sauce! For thicker sauce follow the remaining steps:)
15. Remove meat and veggies, leaving the cooking liquid.
16. Remove the bay leaves and let stand for 5 minutes.
17. In a small bowl, work the butter and flour together until smooth.
18. Whisk 1 cup of the cooking liquid into the butter/flour mixture to make a thin paste.
19. Bring the cooking liquid to a boil over medium heat.
20. Whisk in the paste and cook until the liquid reduces slightly and thickens into a light-bodied gravy (6 minutes).
21. Mix the gravy in with the veggies and meat and serve some extra gravy on the side.

We served the stew with egg noodles. It is a wonderful dish for a cold winter day and makes great left overs.

More to come on the pressure cooker! Stay tuned.

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