Other than the beef and the beer, the other main ingredients in this stew are caramelized onions, brown sugar and vinegar. The onions bring the depth of flavor, while the sugar and vinegar provide a sweet and sour combination to brighten things up a little and make it interesting.
The first step in making this delicious stew is to get the right cut of meat. My picks for this dish are the chuck or shoulder roast, or a round roast. These cuts are full of flavor and relatively inexpensive, but tend to be tough. The pressure cooker is going to make them as tender as can be, so save money on the beef you buy and go for those typically tough cuts. Start by slicing the roast into slices that are about ½-inch thick.
This recipe suggests browning the beef on the stovetop in a large sauté pan and I highly recommend this step. While you could brown the beef in the pressure cooker using the brown setting, it will take you much longer because you’ll have to brown the beef in so many batches with the small surface area of the cooker. Plus you’re already cooking bacon in the cooker so make use of that time and start browning the beef elsewhere. If you don’t have that option, just relax, pour yourself a glass of wine and be prepared to do several batches in your cooker. (Don’t worry you can still pour yourself a glass of wine if you’re browning on the stovetop too!)
Once the beef is browned, you will have to spend some time caramelizing the onions as well. This is another important step with regards to flavor so try not to rush it. This is the last step that will take any time at all – once that is done, you just have to mix all the ingredients together and set the timer for a quick 15 minutes.
When it does come time to add the ingredients to the cooker, you don’t have to layer the beef and onions in the pot, but I think it helps spread the flavor around better and makes it much easier to spoon the dish out when it has finished cooking. Once the beer and stock have been poured into the cooker, the last step is an interesting one – lay mustard coated bread slices on top. This might perplex you a little, but what this serves to do is help to thicken the braising liquid and if you’re going to add bread to thicken, why not add a good dose of Dijon mustard along with it. The bread will break down in the cooker and help thicken the sauce as it cools after a natural pressure release.
One thing this stew doesn’t have the most other stews do is a whole lot of vegetables, so be prepared to serve this over some egg noodles, mashed potatoes or rice to mop up the sauce, and perhaps a simple green salad with vinaigrette on the side. Oh.. and you can refill your wine glass too!