The Pressure Cooker: Fast, Cheap and Easy
The pressure cooker has been around for decades, and recent innovations have made them simpler and safer than its ancestors. One of the best things that a pressure cooker can do is make stew. It generally cuts cooking time by one third. The pressure cooker can help you make dinner faster, cheaper, and easier.
This all reminds me of meeting an old friend, Pete Dunan, at the supermarket years ago. He looked into my cart where he saw the makings for hotdogs. I said that it made my criteria for dinner: fast, cheap, and easy. He quickly replied that fast, cheap, and easy was his criteria, too, but it wasn't for dinner!
A Classic Beef Stew
Pressure Cooker Beef Stew -- A Basic Recipe
Read the instructions for your pressure cooker. I use two, one a six quart and the other is an eight quart capacity. I prefer the eight quart because it is made of aluminum, a good heat conductor, and it has a flat bottom which is good fro browning meat.
Season your stew meat (oh, about 1 - 2 pounds) with salt and pepper. You may also dredge it with flour if you like, but Cook's Illustratedsays that does not heighten browning. Anyway, brown the meat in hot oil (2 tablespoons) in the cooker over high heat. Brown all sides of the beef cubes until they are a nice dark brown. Cut a medium size onion into 1 inch cubes and put into the cooker. Add 2 cups of beef broth (you can be flexible on the amount here) and maybe 1 -2 cups water. Put the lid on the cooker and bring to pressure. Start timing at full pressure (usually 10 pounds for most cookers) for 50 - 55 minutes. Cool the pressure cooker quickly (I do this by running cold tap water over the top of the cooker in the sink) and remove the lid and check for doneness of the meat. It should be not quite thoroughly done, tender, because now you are going to add the vegetables: peeled potatoes, cut in 1 - 2 inch cubes, peeled carrots, cut 1 inch lengths, and 1 - 2 stalks celery, cut into one inch lenghts. Put the lid back on and bring to pressure and time for about 12 minutes. Cool the pressure cooker again, take off the lid and check to see if the vegetables are done to your taste. They usually are for me. I remove the vegetables and meat to a platter, cover with foil and put into a 250 F oven to stay warm. Taste the liquid in the cooker to see it it needs more salt or pepper. Add Ktichen Bouquet 1 teapoon at a time to get a color you like. Mix 1/2 cup flour with enough water to make it the about the consistency of cream. Pour it slowly into the cooker over high heat until the gravy is as thick as you like it. Return the vegetables to the gravy. If you like peas in your stew, you could add some frozen peas at this point. If you want to impress yourself, put it in a seving bowl and top with chopped fresh parsley.
To the new cook, this may sound daunting, but it really isn't. And, if you are doing this in a regular pot, not a pressure cooker, just make the the times three times as long.
It really is fast, cheap, and easy -- and delicious.
daisydee on January 06, 2012:
Classic and traditional recipes of beef stew
Guyana Masala from New Jersey on June 12, 2011:
okay, now I'm hungry...luckily I have a pressure cooker and some beef, so I'm going to try this right now. Lovely. Thanks for the great hub.
wi3nd on September 06, 2010:
its seem so delicious.
yumyyy..nyam nyam.. :D
Kelly Kline Burnett from Madison, Wisconsin on June 20, 2010:
This makes me hungry. Have printed and will try this week. I don't use my pressure cooker enough. Great Hub.
Audrey Kirchner from Washington on November 08, 2009:
Looks awesome - will have to add that to my to try list - I do lots in the slow cooker but this looks equally simple!
ALB21467 from United Arab Emirates on August 17, 2009:
Looks great! Sure taste good too!
horr-ee town on August 17, 2009:
This looks great, makes me hungry!