I’m exhausted. I had a work call late last night, and I didn’t get to bed until after 2 A.M. And I had to be up at 6 this morning to get the kids off to school.
Luckily, the plan for tonight’s dinner is beef stew. Simple and straightforward, this is one of my most comforting comfort meals.
If you’ve made any of my other pressure cooker braise recipes, this is going to look awfully familiar. My braises all follow the same pattern. Brown the meat, saute the aromatics, deglaze the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Add the meat, some stock, and (in this case) tomatoes. Lock the lid on the pressure cooker, bring to high pressure, cook until the meat is done, then let the pressure come down naturally. Serve with a starch to soak up the liquid.
Now, familiar doesn’t mean boring. It may not have the star power of a chili, but a simple beef stew is a classic. Having a rough day? Try this stew. It will bring a smile to your face.
3 pounds of beef chuck, trimmed and cut into 2 inch cubes
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 medium onions, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed through a garlic press
2 tablespoons tomato paste
8 ounces sliced mushrooms
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup red wine
1 cup chicken stock (preferably homemade)
15 oz can diced tomatoes
2 sprigs fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried thyme)
Sear the beef in two batches: Season the beef with 2 teaspoons salt. Heat 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil over medium-high heat in the pressure cooker pot until shimmering (Saute mode in my electric pressure cooker). Add half the beef and sear until well browned on one side, about 3 minutes. Remove the browned beef to a bowl. Add the rest of the beef to the pot, and sear until browned on one side, about 3 more minutes. Move the second batch into to the bowl.
Saute the aromatics: Add the onion, celery, carrot, garlic, tomato paste, and mushrooms to the pot. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt. Saute for 8 minutes, or until the onions are softened. Add the red wine to the pot, bring to a simmer, and scrape the bottom of the pot to loosen any browned bits from the bottom. Stir in the beef and any juices in the bowl, the chicken stock, and the tomatoes. Float the thyme sprigs on top of everything.
Pressure cook the stew: Lock the lid on the pressure cooker, bring the pressure cooker up to high pressure, then cook at high pressure for 30 minutes in an electric PC, 25 minutes in a stovetop PC. Let the pressure come down naturally, about 20 more minutes. Unlock the pressure cooker lid and discard the thyme sprig. Taste for seasoning, and add more salt and some fresh ground black pepper to the stew if necessary. Serve.
Serve the stew with a starch to soak up the juices – I went with risotto, but use your favorite.
Don’t have a pressure cooker? No worries. Use a heavy bottomed dutch oven with a lid, and increase the amount of chicken stock to 2 cups. Follow the instructions right up until “lock the lid”. Then, instead of pressure cooking, bring the pot to a boil, and cover with the lid. Move the pot to a preheated 350*F oven and bake for 2 hours, until the beef is tender.
What do you think? Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.
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