When the weather turns cool and you get home late from a hard day of work, the last thing you want to do is spend another hour over the stove top. But the first thing you want is a nice, hot, comforting meal. Right? This is where my favorite kitchen gadget comes in: the pressure cooker. This classic Italian-inspired stew is hearty and homely, but takes just 20 minutes from start to finish.
1. Trim fat from beef and discard all but enough to over the palm of your hand. Chop this reserved fat relatively finely (about 1/4" chunks) and place into bottom of pressure cooker with just a tiny bit of vegetable oil. Add chopped bacon and begin to fry in bottom of pressure cooker over medium high heat. The idea here is to rend the beef and port fat which will add packs of flavor to the stew.
2. Cut the remaining beef into 1" cubes and toss with flour, a little salt and some pepper. Keep the flour to a minimum. Brown in the bottom of the pressure cooker in two batches. When browned (which will not take long), remove beef from pressure cooker and set aside. This helps the meat become super tender, and gives you time to...
3. start the vegetables. Simply throw the lot - celery, opion, carrots, potatoes, and all the herbs and seasoning into the beef fat and rapidly crisping bacon bits and cook a little until the onion just starts to become translucent. Once added to the cooker, you may turn down the element to medium. This process helps to ensure the sugars are caramelizing.
4. Return the beef to the pot. Add in the can of tomatoes. Seal the pressure cooker and bring up to high pressure, then reduce heat and cook for 12 - 15 minutes (I tend to find 15min is perfect timing).
5. Allow the pressure cooker to return to standard pressure via the natural method (which ensures the meat will stay super tender) and then open the cooker.
6. Stir in the tomato paste and the cup of frozen peas. The peas will cook in the ambient heat of stew in about 3-4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve in bowls with crunchy bread.
I often add all sorts of left-overs or produce that is near expiry to this basic stew: olives, chicken or pork, red peppers, muchrooms are all excellent. Replacing the onions with leeks results in an OMG gorgeous stew. Adding a chopped up anchovie fillet is a great way to add salt and that something extra. However, I've found that pumpkin and sweet potato goes too mushy for this length of cooking, so avoid those.
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|Serving Size: 1 Serving (218g)|
|Recipe Makes: 8 Servings|
|Calories from Fat: 157 (50%)|
|Amt Per Serving||% DV|
|Total Fat 17.5g||23 %|
|Saturated Fat 7g||35 %|
|Monounsaturated Fat 7.4g|
|Polyunsanturated Fat 0.8g|
|Cholesterol 66mg||20 %|
|Sodium 111.3mg||4 %|
|Potassium 748.3mg||20 %|
|Total Carbohydrate 17.5g||5 %|
|Dietary Fiber 3.3g||13 %|
|Sugars, other 14.1g|
|Protein 21.5g||31 %|
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Calories per serving: 314
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