I've made many versions of Beef Stews and each time using different ingredients, usually with what I have on hand. Since it's St. Patrick's Day "season", I've made one using Guinness stout based on Jamie Oliver's Beef & Ale Stew recipe and it tasted superb! This beef stew of mine is the simplest with the least amount of ingredients used by far.
Let's see if I can recall how much of ingredients I've added in...
Beef and Guinness Stew
400 - 500g stewing beef (chuck would be good), cut into 1.5" cubes
Some flour for dusting
3 stalks of eryngii mushrooms, sliced into thick rounds
1/2 yellow zucchini, sliced into thick rounds
1/2 green zucchini, sliced into thick rounds
1 carrots, sliced thickly
2 stalks celery, cut into 2 inches length
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 medium sized white onions, chopped
1 can 320ml Guinness stout
1/2 cups of water
3 tbsp tomato puree
Some herbs like thyme, rosemary and 1 bay leaf
1. Season the beef with salt and pepper. Dust in flour and shake off excess.
2. Heat pan and pour in some olive oil. Brown the beef cubes on all sides, remove and set aside.
3. If there isn't enough oil in the same pan, pour in some to sauté the chopped onions and celery. Fry till brown or caramalised before adding the vegetables except mushrooms. Stir and fry them for a couple of minutes before adding the beef.
4. I transfered them into a pressure cooker and pour in Guinness stout. I've also added about 1/2 cup of water as I liked my stew with lots of gravy so that we can mop them up with bread. You can use a normal pot, just that you need to keep it on low fire for about 2 hours or chuck into oven for about an hour or so on moderate heat.
5. Add in the tomato puree. Season with salt and pepper. Remember to taste and adjust your seasonings. Add the mushrooms, cover and simmer accordingly. For my pressure cooker, I just need to cook it for 15-20 minutes before turning off the heat. Imagine how much time and gas saved? :p
6. When done, serve hot with crusty bread or mash potatoes.
Note on pressure cooker:
Since I've quite a number of mails on the brands and where to get pressure cooker in Kuala Lumpur, so let me have my say here. My pressure cooker was a gift and it's a hard anodised Futura brand and it's from India. Since it was a gift, I've no idea where to get this in town as so far I've not seen this in Kuala Lumpur.
Actually one does not need to buy expensive brands for pressure cooker as the cheaper ones especially from India worked very well. Spare parts are easily available too but don't worry too much about this as usually one just need to replace the rubber seal on the lid when it's worn out. My friends who have relatives in India told me that the Indians use pressure cookers extensively for the daily cooking.
As far as I know, there are two pretty popular Indian brands we can easily get here and they are Premier and Prestige. Premier is available at Jusco while Prestige can be found at most Indian departmental stores at Lebuh Ampang, Brickfields and Klang. There's one located inside Bangunan Mariamman (behind Sri Maha Mariamman Temple, or diagonally opposite Pasar Seni LRT Station) which the name escaped me now. There were 2 shops can be found along Lebuh Ampang.
The prices are fair, if I can remember correctly an aluminium 5l pot would most probably cost around RM200 or less and you could actually ask for a discount. A few of my ex-colleagues got these and were mighty pleased with their purchase.
With regards to the usage and the stories of the lid blew off and wreck the ceiling... yeah I've heard of them, in fact when I was young, my dad's friend experienced this too. My pot was actually stashed away since I was quite scared after hearing all these stories. I've only started using it around 2005 after Capt'n Hook found out that we have one :p He was the one who encouraged me to use it since he knew how to operates one. When I first started using it, I always made sure he's around when I uses the pressure cooker, well just in case anything happen kekeke. I'm more confident and braver these days :D
Well, the reason of lids being blew off basically boils down on how you use it. Just read the instruction manual and follow the steps and you'll be fine. Most importantly, you will need to wait for the pot to cool down so that the pressure will let off in the process and also to let the food to continue to cook. However, there are ways for you to let off the pressure quickly, just refer to the manual as each pot operates differently. Based on my knowledge, the difference of paying extra for expensive brands are they have safety features incorporated into the design. Most of them won't allow the lid to be opened until all pressure is released.
So there you go... and I hope this helps if you're still deliberating to get or use a pressure cooker or not.