This is a recipe I've been working on for a couple weeks - converting my standard beef stew recipe to work well in the pressure cooker. :D
I think at this point I've perfected this pressure cooker beef stew! I'm not sure I'll be making it the slow simmering way ever again. The pressure cooker allows me to have this beef stew on the table in less than an hour instead of the typical 2-3 hours I spend making it!
We've eaten this beef stew three times in the past couple weeks and I never get sick of it. It's THAT good.
Step 1: Ingredients + Tools
- 1 pound stew beef
- 4 small carrots OR 3 large ones, cut into 1/4 inch slices
- 1 onion, diced
- 3 stalks celery, cut into whatever size pieces you like
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into one inch chunks
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- salt, pepper and a bit of all purpose flour for coating the beef
- 4 cups chicken, vegetable, or beef stock
- whatever cooking oil you like
I'm using a Fagor Splendid 6 qt pressure cooker - it cooks at 15 psi. If you have an electric pressure cooker, you'll want to use the "high" setting.
Step 2: Prep the Meat and Vegetables
Chop up all the vegetables as described in the ingredients list.
Trim any big chunks of fat and silver skin from the meat - little pieces are fine to stay! If you find any pieces that are huge compared to the other pieces of beef, cut them down to match.
Add a generous pinch of salt and a few cracks of pepper to the beef, and then add a couple of tablespoons of flour over the top. Mix this with your hands so every piece is well coated.
Step 3: Brown the Beef
Place the pressure cooker pot on the stove over medium heat. Add enough oil to film the bottom and let it heat up.
Once the pot is hot brown the beef in small batches. (I can normally do this in 3 batches.) As you finish browning each batch of beef, transfer it to a plate.
Keep an eye on the bottom of the pot - the brown crust that forms is called the "fond" and it's where most of the flavor in this stew comes from!
What to do if the fond looks like it's getting too dark:
Add a little water (less than 1/4 cup) to deglaze between batches of beef. Scrape around with a wooden spoon on the bottom until all the fond is removed. Pour the resulting liquid over your browned beef and then add more oil and continue to cook the rest of the beef.
Step 4: Cook Down the Vegetables a Bit
Once the beef is all browned and set aside, add in the onion, carrot and celery. If you have to add a little more oil, that's fine - just make sure all the vegetables are lightly coated. Use the water released from the veggies to scrape up the fond on the bottom of the pot.
Once the onions and celery begin to soften and get slightly translucent, move to the next step!
Step 5: Add the Rest of the Seasonings
Add in the garlic first, and stir it around for about 30 seconds.
Then add in the bay leaves and tomato paste - cook this for a few minutes. You want to give the tomato paste good contact with the heat to really bring out the flavor. :)
Step 6: Add in the Liquid and Cook Under Pressure
Add in the beef, potatoes, chicken stock, soy sauce and the Worcestershire sauce. Give it a good stir and then place the lid on the pressure cooker.
For stove top pressure cookers:
Lock the lid into place and turn the heat up to medium high. As soon your cooker pressurizes, turn the heat down. On my electric stove, I turn the heat down to "2" during this part of the process. Cook for 25 minutes. Once the 25 minutes is up, take the pressure cooker off he heat and let the pressure release naturally.
For electric pressure cookers:
Lock the lid into place and set the pressure cooker to high. Once it reaches pressure, set a timer for 25 minutes. Turn it down to warm (or off! depending on the pressure cooker) and release the pressure naturally.
For high altitude cooks:
Add an extra 5% to the cooking time starting at 3,000 feet. For every 1,000 feet above that, add an additional 5%. I'm at 8,000 feet, so I add 30% and round the time a bit. I'm cooking for 35 minutes. :)
Step 7: Stir, Season and Serve!
Once the cooking time is up and you've let the pressure release naturally, open up the pot and have a look.
If the meat isn't quite tender, you can cook it for another five minutes at pressure.
The stew will look fairly thin still, but if you put the pot over medium heat and stir for a minute, some of the potatoes will begin to break down and thicken the stew. It's almost always the perfect consistency for me after this step. :)
At this point, you'll also want to taste and add whatever else it needs - I normally just add a little more soy sauce and it's perfect!