In the kitchen, one plus one can equal much more than three. By combining ingredients packed with umami (mushrooms! beef! tomatoes!), you can exponentially increase the mouth-filling savoriness of your final dish. Here’s an example in the form of a comforting, fork-tender stew — and with a pressure cooker, it can be on the table in less than an hour.
Here’s what to gather to feed 4-6 people:
- 5 pounds grass fed short ribs, cut into 3- to 4-inch segments
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- ½ ounce porcini mushrooms
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1 tablespoon lard or fat of choice
- 1 large onion, chopped medium
- 3 carrots, chopped medium
- 2 celery stalks, chopped medium
- 6 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
- 1 cup marinara sauce (I like Rao’s marinara sauce)
- ½ cup bone broth
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, divided
- ¼ cup chopped Italian parsley
Here’s how you make it:
Season the short ribs liberally with salt and pepper.
If you’d like, you can do this step the night before and store the seasoned ribs in the fridge. Salting early helps amplify the flavor.
Place the porcini mushrooms in a bowl…
…and cover with boiling water until softened (15-30 minutes).
Take out your 8-quart or larger pressure cooker and melt the lard over medium high heat. Sear the ribs in batches until well-browned…
…and transfer them to a platter.
While the ribs are browning, chop up the veggies…
…and toss the onions, carrots and celery into the empty pot. Lower the heat to medium, season with salt and pepper, and sauté the vegetables until softened.
Fish out the softened mushrooms and squeeze out the liquid. You can reserve the mushroom water to use in place of broth, but I personally find it a little muddy tasting.
Coarsely chop up the mushrooms….
…and toss them in the pot along with the garlic. Stir the pot for another minute…
…and add in the marinara sauce, broth, and 1 tablespoon of the balsamic vinegar.
Add the ribs back into the pot, mixing well.
Increase the heat to high and bring the stew to a boil. Cover the pressure cooker with the lid and let the contents come to high pressure.
Once the pot reaches high pressure, decrease the heat to low and maintain on high pressure for 30 minutes. Then, take the pot off the heat and let the pressure come down naturally (10-15 minutes).
When the pressure is released, add the remaining tablespoon of vinegar and check for seasoning. You can eat the stew right away, but I think it tastes much better after the flavors have had a chance to meld overnight in the fridge. Plus, it’s easier to peel off the layer of fat when it’s hardened.
To reheat the stew, dump it in a pot, and bring to a boil.
Simmer the stew for at least 20 minutes and top with minced parsley.
Try this recipe — I guarantee you’ll like it. There’s no need to be afraid of pressure cookers!