The locksmith eyed this birdfeeder and mentioned it might attract more bears than birds...oops.

Monday, November 10, 2014



One thing I really love about Autumn is the thick, rib-sticking food I get to cook that would seem oh-so out of place in the warm, honey-suckle sweet summer. 

Cause truth be told, the food doesn't actually stick to our ribs, but more typically our thighs, and we surely don't want that! 

 Last year, I decided to pull out my dusty, old pressure cooker and play around with a stew recipe that would have a bit of an Irish accent ~ a Stout Beef Stew. I paired peppered parmesan popovers...POPOVERS...using a pan I'd bought for just such a time as this (twenty years ago to be exact). It was so good, divine in fact, that I made it over and over and over again. 

Today, I'm making the Stout Beef Stew again, but without the popovers. My thighs will thank me later! 

The ingredients are stew beef, small can of tomato paste, carrots, potatoes, thyme, a bottle of Stout Beer, mushrooms, beef broth, onion, garlic cloves, worchestershire, bay leaves, paprika, salt, pepper, and flour.  You can play around with the ingredients but this is how I like it.

(Do you see that gorgeous turkey all-things-fall platter in the background? It's a William Sonoma platter I found on eBay. It's not part of the recipe. I just placed it there so you could enjoy it's beauty and wish you had one. Tell the wondered where I got it, didn't you?)

Your first step is to take your stew beef, sprinkle some salt and pepper, a little flour and stir it around with a fork and drop it into about one tablespoon of hot olive oil down in your pressure cooker. Oh! I forgot to tell you you'll need some oil. 

Wait...what? You don't have a pressure cooker?? Well, lands sake, get onto amazon right now and order yourself a pressure cooker! This beef stew recipe only has to cook 20 minutes. TWENTY MINUTES! It's like a kitchen miracle! (not the browning step..that will only take about 5 minutes or so) You can save all kinds of time so you can watch things like Call the Midwife on tv! 

While your beef is browning, chop up a big ol' onion. I only had a ginormous onion so I chopped and chopped. What's up with me only having a tiny cutting board?  Now there's a good wish list item for Christmas! Also dice up about 3 cloves of garlic.

Remove your now nicely browned meat and place it in a holding bowl. Add the diced onion  and garlic to another spoonful of oil and brown away. 
There's just nothing as wonderful smelling as caramelized onions and garlic. Hence, the title of my blog!  Caramelized anything is a culinary gift from heaven!

When the onions are just about a browned mess, add about half the bottle of Stout. I bought Guinness even though my husband said, "Don't buy Guinness!" Honestly, I'm not a beer drinker and I get distracted by all the fun names and colorful labels. The Guinness was the only one that actually said 'Stout'.

 It's a good thing that 'Fat Bastard Winery' doesn't make a beer or I'd have chosen that one.  Then my stew would be 'Fat Bastard Beef Stew'!  

"If you had Jesus to dinner, what would you serve?"

"Why, my famous Fat Bastard Stew, no doubt!" 
Jesus would laugh, I know he would. 

Stir it all around a bit and scrape up all those yummy bits on the bottom of the pan.

Now, add a quart of beef stock. I went ahead and got the regular one instead of the low sodium one, cause come on, admit it, saltier is usually better. No, always better. 

Then, add the rest of the stout.

May I back track just a moment? I wasn't sure just how to open the beer and I first grabbed my rubbery lid thingy.

That metal top wasn't budging.

 Okay, now don't laugh. I only considered this for one second. Maybe two. But closer to one. I finally found the bottle opener and viola! The metal top flew across the kitchen. 

Next, comes a small can of tomato paste. Stir this in.

Add some roughly chopped carrots.

Then some peeled and chopped taters.

Some sliced mushrooms...

Two bay leaves, some fresh thyme and....

some pepper, salt and a pinch of sugar (just cause my grandmama said to always add a pinch of sugar if vegetables are involved). And then a bit of paprika for color.

(by the way, that blue thing on my wrist is a fitness tracker. The way my schedule has been going, the only exercise it's been tracking is me lifting a fork to my mouth, but I digress..) 

Add about a tablespoon of worchestershire. You may notice I'm not measuring anything. I know folks just hate that when they ask for a recipe, but you didn't actually ask for this recipe, did you? Anyways, I'd most likely just make up measurements to make you happy and when it turned out all wrong you'd accuse me of culinary chicanery. 

The last thing to add is the browned meat. 

Now, at this point, you want to turn the heat up to medium high and bring all the stew to a boil...WITH THE LID ON TIGHT. This is where folks get killed...I trouble with pressure cookers. You need to make sure the lid, with the rubber gasket is on correctly. Lock it in place and bring it to boil. The little metal knocker thing on top will start to rock back and forth at this point and you gently turn the heat down a wee bit to where it is still hissing and rocking, but just so...

Oh, alright...I'm not gonna lie...

I like to keep a close watch on things from a safe distance. If only mama and daddy hadn't had that most unfortunate ceiling accident with the turnip greens...

Don't let this discourage you! Pressure cookers rarely blow up anymore! Technology has improved and they're just as safe as any other thing in the kitchen. More folks get killed driving down the freeway than cooking with a pressure cooker, so ease your fears sister. 

After 20 minutes, turn off the heat and push the metal rocker top thing to the side. It will release all that pressure with a wicked hissing, but be not dismayed. This is your time to call the youngins to dinner. Give it about 3 minutes to spew out all the built up steam and your Stout Beef Stew is done! And it will taste like it's been cooking for hours!  And you lived! Yay for pressure cookers and getting dinner cooked in less time than it takes to drive to the restaurant! 

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