Monday, September 19, 2011

Fall is all around me...

   I know, I know ... we still have few days of summer ahead of us and nobody wants to even think about fall. But doesn't this weather feel like fall already? It does to me and I never thought I would say this but I really enjoy it. Don't get me wrong... I love the sun, heat and long days, but isn't it nice to come home after work, put your favorite pj pants and get cozy on the couch under the warm blanket, snuggle with your spouse, or dog, or cat, or all above? There is only one thing missing from that picture, can you guess what? You got it, a bowl of hot, rustic, flavorful and hardy beef stew with tons of vegetables. That's exactly what I was craving for the last couple of days... and today was the perfect evening to enjoy it.

   Dredge some beef stew meet in flour, until evenly coated and cook in a little bit of olive oil in a skillet until the meat is brown. The regular stew is very time consuming and requires stirring and cooking, and stirring some more, and then cooking for few hours... but remember how I said my dishes are very time friendly? And that's when my wonderful pressure cooker comes handy! Transfer meet to the cooker, add some water (not too much, you want the sauce to be thick and full of flavor), salt, pepper, paprika and 4-5 dried bay leaves. Since meat requires much more cooking time then veggies, I first cook it for 20 min and then add big chunks of carrots, potatoes and celery, and leave it in a pressure cooker for next 10-15  minutes. After that is done I take the lid off and let the sauce reduce for about 5-6 min. And here it is... the working girl's version of the stew, it's done under 40 minutes and has the same amount of flavor! The beef is tender and juicy, vegetables are soft but not mushy, and the sauce is just right. The best way to serve it is in a deep bowl, on the couch with lots of love and fresh parsley ... need to boost that immune system before winter!

Hope you enjoy it!


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