Mother Nature can be schizophrenic in the spring. Sunny and warm one day, raining and cold the next. What’s a cook to do? Go for a classic dish like beef and vegetable stew. Filled with chunks of top sirloin, carrots, tomatoes and herbs, this melt-in-your-mouth dish is a favorite with my beef-eating clients.
Done in a pressure cooker, this stew takes about 30 minutes instead of hours, getting dinner on the table fast. You can also make it 2-3 days ahead and refrigerate it or freeze it.
Re-Think the Meat
Beef stew recipes often use what is called stew meat; a cubed mix of tougher cuts sold at many meat counters. My choice for stew is the more tender top sirloin. I’ve increased the vegetable content with lots of carrots, tomatoes, celery and onion and added Better Than Bullion concentrate for rich beefy flavor.
Save Time with a Pressure Cooker
If you don’t have a pressure cooker, it’s a worthwhile addition to your kitchen. When not being used as a pressure cooker, it works like any other pot. When you feel the need for speed, the lid can be locked on and the time it takes to cook soups, stews, rice, beans and many other dishes is greatly reduced. In a time-starved cooking schedule, a pressure cooker can be your best friend.
Prep Work and Cooking
Trim your meat into large chunks, about 1 ¼’. Trim off any extra fat. Brown the meat and set aside. Cook onion, celery and garlic until soft. Add red wine and reduce. Add herbs, spices, beef bullion and browned beef. Lock the lid on and bring to high pressure. Cook for 20 minutes, then remove from the heat and allow the pressure to drop naturally. This will take just a few minutes. For the carrots, I find when they are cooked with the meat they get too soft and almost fall apart. Cook them in boiling salted water for 3-4 minutes while the stew is cooking. Drain and add the carrots after the stew is done. For the tomatoes, they disintegrate in the pressure cooker, so I add them with the carrots at the end. They retain more of their shape and warm quickly when being added to the piping hot stew.
Serve in a bowl by itself or over whole wheat pasta or rice noodles for gluten free. Finish with a little fresh parsley for a nice shot of green color and fresh flavor.
Equipment note – I use Fagor pressure cookers. You will need at least a 6 quart model. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for 3 days or can be frozen.
Beef and Vegetable Stew with Rosemary
Serves: 2 (doubles easily)
- 3/4 pound top sirloin, trimmed of fat and cut into large cubes, about 1 ¼”
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil (or butter)
- 1 cup (150 grams) diced onion
- 2 large ribs celery, diced small
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced fine (or use a garlic press)
- ½ cup (120 ml) dry red wine
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped rosemary
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 generous tablespoon organic beef Better Than Bullion (see note below about alternatives)
- ½ cup (120 ml) water
- ¾ pound (340 grams) carrots, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
- 15 ounces (411 grams) canned diced tomatoes, drained
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
Equipment: 6-8 quart pressure cooker
- Add oil to pot over medium heat and brown the cubed beef. When beef is brown, remove to bowl along with the juices and set aside.
- Add the onions and celery to the pot. If it seems dry, add another teaspoon or two of oil. Cook onions and celery over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until they are soft and translucent. Add garlic and cook another 1 minute.
- Add wine and cook down for a minute or two. Add oregano, thyme, rosemary, paprika, bay leaf, pepper, and Better Than Bullion. Add the beef back into the pot along with the 1/2 cup of water.
- Lock the lid on and bring the pressure cooker to high pressure. When the gauge goes up, turn heat to low and set timer for 20 minutes.
- While stew is cooking, bring a medium pot filled with water to a boil. Salt the water and add carrots. Cook carrots for approximately 4 minutes, or until tender. Cooking time will depend on the size of your carrots. Drain and set carrots aside. When stew has completed pressure cooking, turn heat off and slide pan to a cool burner.
- Allow the pressure to come down naturally. It will take about 7-8 minutes. When the gauge drops, open lid away from your face, being careful of the steam. Add the warm carrots, drained tomatoes and chopped parsley. Serve immediately or cool and refrigerate for enjoying later.
Stew will keep in the refrigerator for 3 days and freezes well.
Ingredient note – Although Better Than Bullion provides great flavor, it a product I am trying to eliminate from my kitchen because of concerns with ingredients. The organic version is better than the regular version, which I don’t use, but the organic version does still have caramel coloring. Caramel coloring, although naturally derived, can be questionable. An alternative is to use Stock Options All Natural Beef Demi Glace or another demi glace. One of the most difficult areas to eliminate unhealthy ingredients is in condiments and other flavor enhancing products.
Fagor 3-in-1 6-Quart Multi-Cooker for pressure cooking, slow cooking and rice cooking
A great cookbook with more pressure cooker recipes by Lorna Sass, Pressure Perfect
Laura writes a terrific blog filled with recipes and tips for pressure cooking, Hip Pressure Cooking.
A good tool to have for shopping – Chemical Cuisine mobile app for iPhone and Android available at CSPI
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