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Pressure Cooker Seco de Carne - Peruvian Beef Stew




You may have noticed that I am not keeping up with my regular pace on the blog. For the last 8 years, I've tried to add at least 1 or 2 recipes a week but my own cooking gigs have kept me out of my own kitchen since the fall.

During the holiday season, I was so busy working for my friend in his catering company, that I barely made more than a piece of toast at home. Day after day, I would break down up to 40 lbs of beef into stew meat and then braise it all in the oven, making another 5 or 6 restaurant pans of scalloped potatoes, moussaka, or cutting up and marinating about a metric ton of chicken thighs followed by at least three evening parties a week so trust me, when I got home, we were ordering take out and apart from playing Candy Crush and checking twitter, I barely looked at a camera or a computer.
December, in the catering business, is not for the faint of heart, weak of back or fallen of arches.


Now, it's the new year and I am finally feeling like getting back into my own little kitchen so I am working on adapting some family favourites to work in the pressure cooker. This week, it was time to adapt Seco do Carne, which is a flavourful, comforting Peruvian Beef Stew that stars of two of my favourite ingredients - cilantro and aji amarillo, the fiery, yellow Peruvian pepper paste that I like to put in everything.

It wasn't all that hard to adapt - I had to reduce the amount of liquid, obviously, and there was no need to brown the entire 3 lbs of beef, which is nice. I simplified a couple of the steps with a little tweak here, a little change there until I was happy with the result.

The best part is that it takes a total of about 45 minutes of cooking once everything is browned and sautéed as opposed to 1.5 to 3 hours of stove top simmering without any reduction in flavour.

Check off another dish that I used to reserve for weekends that has now been moved over to the weeknight list. It's not as fast as other "put the stuff in and walk away" recipes but absolutely cuts the time by about 60%.

If you have another brand of electric pressure cooker, don't sweat it. They are all basically the same although the names assigned to the different buttons might vary slightly.




Instant Pot Seco de Carne - Peruvian Beef Stew




serves 6 


**1.33 kg or 3 lbs of stew beef
kosher salt and black pepper
2-3 tbls oil
2 onions, chopped
6 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 1/2 tbls cumin
2 tbls Aji Amarillo paste or to taste, depending on desired heat level
2 bunches of cilantro
1 3/4 cups chicken stock
1 cup lager
2 tsp kosher salt
8 small potatoes chopped into bite sized pieces
220g or 1/2 lb carrots, chopped into bite sized piece
1 cup frozen peas

*optional slurry of 1 heaping tbls flour mixed with about 3 tbls water to smooth paste

**I like to leave the beef, uncovered, in the fridge for a few hours to make sure it's dry - meat sears better when it's dry.

wash the cilantro and discard the stems
chop roughly and throw in a blender with of the 3/4 cup chicken stock and puree until smooth. Set aside.

Season the beef with salt and pepper
Heat your electric pressure cooker in saute mode until hot. Add about 1 tbls of oil and add in a handful of beef so that it's not crowded - if too crowded it will steam, not sear.

Sear the meat until its browned on all sides and leaves some nice brown bits on the bottom of the pot and remove to a bowl. Do this until you have seared half of the beef.

Add a bit more oil and throw in the onions, saute for a few minutes, scraping up the fond (brown bits on the bottom of the pot) while you go. Now add in the garlic and saute for another minute before adding in the cumin and the aji amarillo paste. Saute for a few minutes more and then pour in the cilantro/stock puree and fry that until it turns dark green - it should take about three minutes.

Add in the beer, the rest of the chicken stock, the beef with any juices that have accumulated, 2 tsp of kosher salt and give a good stir.
Lock the lid on and program it for 25 minutes at High Pressure.

When the time is up, do a quick release, open up the lid, throw in the potatoes and carrots, lock the lid back on and program it for 5 minutes at High Pressure.
When the time is up, do a quick release.

Open the lid and add in the frozen peas, put the lid back on and let it sit for a few minutes to heat up the peas. If you find it too thin you can add in the flour/water slurry with the peas, stir well and it will thicken up while the peas heat up but I like it on the thinner side, myself.




Serve over rice.


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