Is something organic if it is shipped across the country? What about the fuel that is used and how that affects our environment, not to mention the freshness of the food and a myriad of other factors. Over the last few years i have been reading everything i can get my hands on to help me answer these and other questions so sit back, relax and explore where my quest has taken me thus far.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Stew in 30 minutes?

It sounds crazy but it is true, well almost!  We recently got a pressure cooker as an engagement gift and last night we took it for a test drive.  I have never thought that owning a pressure cooker would change my life, but it has and it will continue to do so the more I use it in delicious fooding adventures.  Our pressure cooker is a three in one digital machine.  It can steam, slow cook and pressure cook, it can also just keep something warm which is a nice feature.  

But I digress!  Last night about 5pm I decided that it was the perfect crispy fall day for stew.  So I was feeling a little kitchen creative and decided to reconstitute a vegetable soup that I made over the weekend into the stew broth, it turned out great but was a little too peppery.  I stopped off at the store for a little 2 pound roast and ran home to share my ideas with Mr. Mouse.  Of course he loved it.  So we seared the beef and cubed it, in the meantime I cut up three potatoes and 8oz. of baby bella mushrooms and tossed them into the pot with the soup/veg liquid, I would tell you how much except that I don't know, there is a line inside the pressure pot that says "max" and has a 2 next to it, maybe that means 2 quarts?  So anyway, we had everything in the pot and set the pressure cooker up as the booklet directed (knobs turned, gaskets affixed, lid locked and loaded etc.) and set the timer for 30 minutes GO!  Our little machine started to huff and puff a bit so we respectfully moved away.......then it stopped.....and the timer was not counting down.  Darnit what went wrong?  It turns out nothing, the pressure will build up then the timer will count down, when I thought about it later it made complete sense.

During the time the stew was stewing the kitchen smelled wonderful, it smelled beefy and brothy and rich.  Oh were we excited!  Then we heart it, "BEEP"......."BEEP"........"BEEP" was done.  Now what to do?  There are knobs to be dealt with, a lid to be sweet talked and MY DINNER IS INSIDE THIS MONSTROSITY!!!!!  So me being the very patient person that I am run over and immediately disregard the safety instructions I have just read and throw the knob from pressure to steam.  Wow was that a totally bad idea!  There was literally delicious smelling but sort of greasy beefy steam blowing straight up to the ceiling for what seemed like forever, I finally got a towel thrown over it to help with the mess I created, good lord was it impressive.

When we finally felt it was safe to take the lid off we ladled some stew into 2 mugs and gave it a try.  OH IT WAS SOOOOOOO GOOD!!!!!  The meat was tender, yet flavorful, they potatoes were soft and delicious, the broth was unbelievable (I had 2 cups it was so good!)  And all that in, well considering searing time and cutting of extra veg and oh, don't forget the pressure building time, I would say an hour tops!  This is something that I would normally slow cook and it would take hours.  I can't wait to see what other delicious delectables this will produce for us, so far it was great and we look forward to having a long and happy friendship with our pressure cooker.

Until next time
~A very pressurized CM

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