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Mom's Beef Stew

It came a little thicker than usual - probably could've used more liquid
I mentioned my mothers beef stew in my first post regarding the pressure cooker (or my fear of pressure cookers).  I thought for Mother's Day this would be an appropriate posting. I know every time I see a recipe with "Mom" in the title I find that it is either really a good one or it's not.  I think for the "not so good" ones sometimes it is just nostalgia that makes it taste good. But I think this is the best tasting stew in less than a half hour and that's not nostalgia talking.  I've tried to make a stew by the traditional method of cooking it for several hours, but it just doesn't come out the same.  The vegetables become too mushy and flavorless, even if you add them later.  In the pressure cooker, the vegetables stay slightly firm and very flavorful.

Beef Stew
1 medium onion, chopped
1lb stew meat, cut into 1" cubes
2 clove garlic, chopped
3/4 c red wine
3 large carrots, cut into 1/2" rounds
2 stalks celery, cut into 1/2" chunks
3 large potatoes, cubed into 1/2" chunks

12 oz canned diced tomatoes
1 bay leaf
1 t dried thyme
8 oz frozen peas

Place onion, 2 T of oil, and salt in pressure cooker. Saute onions on low flame for at least 10 minutes, until caramelized.  Meanwhile cut all vegetables.  Dry meat with paper towel. Salt & pepper meat. Remove onions from pot.  Add meat to pressure cooker in batches until browned on all sides.  Do not crowd pan.  Add garlic and let cook for a minute until fragrant.  Deglaze pan with wine, scrapping up bits on bottom. Add remaining ingredients to pressure cooker except peas.  If there is not enough liquid in the pot, add additional wine or stock.  Liquid should come up approximately halfway up ingredients. Close lid and cook for 20 minutes once pressure is up.  Quick release pressure cooker. Add peas and stir. If there is too much liquid, cook an additional few minutes to cook off some of the liquid.

A nice hunk of crusty bread and some homemade butter and it is heaven! Really one of those cold-weather-rib-sticking meals.

A great gadget!
There are really 3 secrets to making meat taste good. One is drying the meat so that it sears well in the pan. Second is not crowding the pan while you're cooking it.  If the pan is crowded, the meat steams. The last secret to great meat is this little gadget by Jacard.  It prevents the meat from shrinking and also helps to tenderize it (without chemicals). You just press on the meat with it and the little "knives" poke holes in the meat.  I even use this on chicken cutlets.



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