Beef Stew, My Family Style

Previously, on –


As I was growing up, my folks would sometimes make, what they imagined to be,a ‘beef stew’.  It was a simple affair of chuck beef

Vegetables for the stew

cubes with chunks of tomato, potato and onion in a slow cooker with a bit of salt and served with white rice.

chunking up the carrots

cubing up the potato

Fast foward to today.

Dicing up the tomato. A comment here. The santoku knife was used to set up the dicing of the tomato. The serrated bread knife was used to get clean ‘cubes’ without ‘squashing’ the tomato


‘chunking’ up the onion

Knowing what I knew of Chef Ron Siegel’s red wine braised short ribs, it occurred to me that what I really needed to make was:

2 c cabernet or bordeaux
2 c chicken stock (if you use commercial stock in quart form, reduce it by half)
3 lbs of beef chuck cubed into 1 to 2″ pieces
1 lb yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cubed
4 medium carrots (cut into bite size pieces
1 large yellow onion cut into 1 to 2″ chunks
2 ripe beef steak tomatoes de-stemmed, cored and chopped into chunks

reducing chicken stock and prepared vegetables


Reduced chicken stock and cabernet sauvignon (half bottle was just shy of 2 cups, but that’s ok)

Add the yukon gold potato cubes, carrot chunks and chunks of tomato to the bottom of the pressure cooker.

vegetables layered in the bottom of the pressure cooker

Season beef all over with salt and pepper.

chuck roast cubed and seasoned

Heat a sautee pan and add canola or grapeseed oil and sear the beef in the sautee pan until the beef is well browned all over and then

starting the sear on a batch

Finishing the searing processing on the first batch

transfer the beef to a pressure cooker (you may need to do this in batches).

All the beef loaded into the pressure cooker

Add the reduced stock to pressure cooker

starting to cook the onions. Cooking them in the same pan would use the exuded liquid to help deglaze the beef fond from the bottom of the pan

Sautee and caramelize the onions in the same pan you seared the beef in with a bit more oil and once the onions have taken on a nice

onions mostly cooked through

color, transfer to the pressure cooker over the beef.

Onions loaded to the pressure cooker

Deglaze the sautee pan with the wine, bring to a boil for a minute or two and transfer all the contents to the pressure cooker.

Boiling off the alcohol and completing the deglazing of the pan and then added to the pressure cooker

Just before sealing the pressure cooker, I had noticed that the ingredients weren’t quite covered with enough liquid and so added 3 more cups of water.  I then sealed the pressure cooker, brought it up to pressure, lowered the heat so that pressure was maintained and cooked for about an hour after the cooking pressure was reached.   After the hour was up, I released the pressure and served to my Revol plates.   My wife was surprised how well the stew turned out with the addition of the wine and the reduced stock.

Dinner is served

In hindsight, I thought about the comments on the internet about the use of tomato paste, salt packed anchovy, worcestershire sauce, fish sauce, soy sauce and tomato paste and it occurred to me that this was all about increasing the level of umami in this stew.

Recalling Iron Chef Michiba’s famous thought: Ingredients do not recognize national boundaries, it dawned on me that I could put an Iron Chef twist on this dish and replace the chicken stock with sheung tong/chinese superior stock made from chicken wings. That stock would supply BOTH the necessary gelatin AND umami with one go.  Probably the only other change I would make would be to replace the cabernet sauvignon with either a shiraz or a cotes du rhone to blend in with the ginger flavor profile from the chinese superior stock.

Thank you Chef Siegel for introducing me to the use of red wine in stews

ありがとうございます Iron Chef Chen for your technique on making classic chinese chicken stock

ありがとうございます Iron Chef Morimoto for your admonition on the proper use of twists for fusion cooking

ありがとうございます Iron Chef Michiba for your wisdom on ingredients

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