Since it looks like rain is heading our way for the weekend–figures! it’s perfect all week and wet all weekend– I will offer you another pressure cooker recipe that is super simple and rivals the best stew you’ve ever had.
Costco sells stew meat, as do most markets. It’s called stew meat because, in theory, you let it stew until it becomes tender and flavorful, usually several hours on the stovetop or all day in your Crock Pot. The sad part is that sometimes (okay, often), no matter how long it simmers, stew meat never becomes tender.
Bring on the pressure cooker! It makes a mockery of tough hunks of meat. I always make lots so I can have leftovers, and here’s how I do it.
Hazel’s Easy Beef Stew
1 pound (or so) of stew meat
4 large potatoes
1 onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 cup each frozen corn and peas
3 cans of Campbell’s consommé
3 cans Campbell’s French onion soup (I told you I like leftovers–plus I always send some home with my honey for his workday lunch)
1/4 cup catsup
Salt and pepper
Peel the carrots and potatoes and cut into large chunks and put in a pan large enough to hold them. Pour in a couple cans of the onion soup (just enough to cover the vegetables) and bring to boil, leaving uncovered. This will cook while your beef is under pressure. If you cook them with the beef, the vegetables will become mush in a very short time.
Dredge the chunks of beef in flour seasoned with salt and pepper (I usually add about a tablespoon of salt to the flour mixture; you can also add a couple teaspoons of paprika) and set aside. Pour a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in your pressure cooker and heat it until the oil shimmers. Place a layer of the floured beef in the hot oil, sear on all sides and remove. Repeat until your beef is all seared, then toss it all back into the pan with the juices. Add the onions, the consommé and one can French onion soup. There should be plenty of liquid, but don’t worry, you’ll lose about half of it through the steam. Add the catsup, give it a stir and cover with your pressure cooker lid and tighten.
Bring the heat up to steam using the 10-pound designation on your pressure regulator. Cook for about 20 minutes, turn off the heat and remove the lid. Take a tenderness test of the beef – it should be perfect but once in a while it needs to go a bit longer. If so, repeat for another 10 minutes before adding your veggies.
When tender, add the potatoes and carrots, liquid and all, to the cooked beef. Bring back to a bubble and add the peas and corn. Cook just til they’re hot through. You really shouldn’t have to add any other spices. You will have a perfect (every time) beef stew. That’s it, nothing else. If you’re feeling the need of the perfect bread, I usually throw four frozen Pillsbury Grand biscuits in the oven for 12 minutes and time them to come out just after I’ve dished up our stew. I’m making myself hungry – enjoy!