Winter is all about braising, but truth be told, I don’t have patience for traditional stew recipes. If only less expensive cuts of meat could shine in less than the few hours it takes to create tender, succulent bits of beef studded with carrots, mushrooms and potatoes, if you’re into adding them (I prefer my stew over egg noodles). Well, you can.
In less than 30 minutes, you’ll be ready to dig into a hearty meal simply by using a pressure cooker. I’d been a fan of stovetop pressure cooking for at least a decade. It started during my years as a personal chef. Pressure cooking allowed me to prepare intensive menus in the four hours allotted at each client’s house. Now as a busy, working mom of two, they’re saving my dinnertime. Electric models regulate the pressure automatically, so there’s no fiddling with the burners to get it right. Just program the cooking time and walk away, worry-free until it’s time to set the table.
1.75 pounds stew meat, cut into 1 ½-inch cubes
1 to 2 teaspoons of olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 medium onions (9 ounces), quartered
3 large carrots (11 ounces), sliced ½-inch thick
4 large white button mushrooms (3.5 ounces), quartered
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 cup (225 ml) water
2 tablespoons tomato paste, double concentrate
2 tablespoons molasses
1 tablespoon flour
freshly chopped parsley, to garnish (optional)