I haven’t posted enough food stuff here lately (though you can always check out my bread blog!), but I have made this stew a couple of times in the last few weeks and it always turns out amazingly well, and super-easy to make. Utterly perfect for autumn in Canada.
THIS RECIPE ACCEPTS LEFTOVERS! If you have a decent quantity of leftover roasted veggies, skip the labourious Step 1 and just toss them in instead. Ditto with whatever leftovers you have from last Shabbos’s chicken (or any) soup. I made it once with a chicken/squash soup and it was utterly amazing. Leftover grains would probably also be scrumptious; add in Step 4 with the soup/broth.
If I didn’t have a pressure cooker, I’d probably just do this in a pot and it would still be very good. The pressure cooker reduces the cooking time, I guess, and perhaps it does a better job of getting all the flavour out of the veggies. And I like having something I can use my pressure cooker for besides sausage risotto.
Step 1: Prep and roast a bunch of veggies at 400°-425°. This is the hardest part, I promise! The mix of veggies is very casual and just depends what you have on hand. Here, I’ve used onions, potatoes (organic red, skin-on), carrots, garlic, parsnip. Growing up with my mother, it just doesn’t taste stew-y without parsnip. Red peppers would work fine, as would zucchini. Whatever you’ve got.
(Oh - squash works great, and roasting it couldn’t be easier. Forget about peeling and dicing; just cut it in half and place it face-down on a pan in the oven until tender.)
Toss veggies with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper.
Roast until the veggies are just starting to turn brown and tender, stirring every 10-15 minutes.
Step 2: In pressure cooker, stir cubed beef (any cheap cut) to brown it. Toss in a little salt and pepper. This would probably work better in the wok (they tend to boil rather than fry in the straight-sided pressure cooker), but I don’t want to dirty two things.
Step 3: Add 1 cup red wine to pressure cooker. Any red wine. Cheap red wine. Bring to a boil.
Step 4: Add roasted veggies and 2 cups of leftover chicken soup from Shabbos. If you don’t have leftover soup, you can use water, or add a bit of chicken soup mix to the water. This adds a lot of salt. Here, I wasn’t worried about salt because the broth was my mother’s and (as she ALWAYS points out) she doesn’t oversalt her food like I do.
I use enough broth to ALMOST cover the veggies. You could get away with using a little less or more depending on what consistency you like your stew.
This is the step where I should have put in a bay leaf, but I forgot.
Step 5: Seal pressure cooker and turn burner to high heat. I love my pressure cooker! I got it free and I think it’s beautiful. (I thought you’re supposed to value things less if they’re free?)
Step 6: When cooker reaches pressure (on mine, the safety thingy pops up when it’s at pressure), set timer for 10 minutes. Slowly turn the temperature down to medium or even low. I do it a bit at a time so I don’t lose pressure. If you don’t have a pressure cooker, I’d imagine about 30 minutes of cooking the veg and meat together would do the trick.
Step 7: Go back a few steps and before you start making the stew, toss a loaf of semolina bread in the oven. Time it so it’ll be done just as your stew reaches pressure so it has time to cool off.
Step 8: After ten minutes, turn off heat and let the pressure drop naturally. If you’re in a hurry, release it any way your cooker lets you do it. (mine has a button)
Step 9: Open the cooker and check the consistency of the stew. If you want it thicker, stir in a simple flour-water paste (I used 2 tablespoons of flour with just enough water to make it look like milk). Some people (my mother) whisk flour directly into the stew, but when I try it, it just makes snotty clumps. Boil the flour a few minutes so it mixes in and doesn’t taste raw.
Step 10: Sample, season and serve!
(Yes, this stew ALSO contains chicken… my mother left huge shreds of it in her broth, and I just dumped the broth right in, as-is! Yum!)
Super-Secret Stew Hint: Stew is ALWAYS better the next day, and there is a reason for this involving fats redistributing themselves in the meat and tenderizing as it cools. Alton Brown explains it better than I do.