Tough cuts of meat can be tamed into a tender meal in 40 minutes or less using pressure, instead of two to three hours of slow braising. Which means this beef stew, full of mushrooms and red wine, is a real option for dinner any weeknight.
This recipe, unlike a conventional stew, has the addition of butter and flour at the end. This is done to ensure that the cooker reaches pressure quickly and easily. Thickening a stew before pressure-cooking will thicken its cooking liquid, too. Viscous liquid has difficulty boiling and might not generate enough steam to build and maintain pressure. The gravy will, instead, remain motionlessly stuck to the base of the cooker, scorching and burning.
As for flavor, expect the deep, rich notes of a slowly braised stew. Porcini mushrooms add to that richness and maintain their shape and texture with the short (20-minute) cook time. The single sprig of rosemary is a faint whisper reminiscent of the scent of crushed pine needles in the forests where porcini mushrooms are found.
Silky Beef and Porcini Mushroom Stew
Serves 4 to 6
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 pounds beef chuck, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 sprig of rosemary, de-stemmed and finely chopped (about 1 teaspoon)
1 medium red onion, roughly diced
1 celery stalk, cut into 1/2-inch slices
1/2 cup red wine (any tart, non-sweet red, like Chianti or Sangiovese)
1 cup salt-free beef stock
1 teaspoon salt (reduce if using salted stock and butter)
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 ounce (30 grams) dried porcini mushrooms, rinsed
2 large carrots, sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Preheat the pressure cooker (by pressing brown/sauté mode).
Add the olive oil and sear the beef cubes on one side (about 5 minutes). Add rosemary, onions, celery, red wine, stock, salt, and pepper. Mix the contents of the pressure cooker well. Sprinkle the mushrooms and carrots on top of the stew mixture.
Close the lid and pressure-cook for 15 minutes at high pressure. When time is up, open the pressure cooker with natural release (turn off the pressure cooker and wait for pressure to come down naturally, about 15 to 20 minutes).
In the meantime, in a small pan melt the butter and drizzle with flour. Mix into a paste and let it cook until the butter begins to make bubbles in the flour.
Remove the lid, tilting it away from you. Add about 6 tablespoons of the cooking liquid from the pressure cooker into the little pan with the flour paste and mix well to loosen the paste. Then, pour the mixture back into the pressure cooker base and mix well.
Bring the contents of the pressure cooker to a boil (by pressing brown/sauté mode) and let it simmer until thickened (about 5 minutes).