Yeah we've moved on to a new month!  I am not a negative person, and I love all the seasons, but I always get a little thrill when Jan. is over.  Just last General Conference there was a talk that struck me.  It was a talk by Elder M. Russell Ballard where he talked about the beauty of fall and then the "cold austere beauty" of winter.  His talked made me think of a favorite song I have at Christmas time.  It's called, "In The Bleak Midwinter".   Those words all sound so dreary and..........cold, but they describe January perfectly.  They are excellent adjectives to describe the first month of the year.  I always love moving on to Feb.  Maybe it's because March is right after, and most snow drifts have melted by March 19th at my home.  It's just a little sign of hope that life will appear again.  But I will admit my fireplace, big fuzzy socks, sweaters and an inherited down coat are delicious this time of year!

Last Sunday we had the most perfect January Sunday dinner.  You can call it stew, but we prefer to call if Beef Bourguignon.  It just sound a little more Sunday-ish with a good Julia Child title.  I received a fun gift for my birthday this year from my mom.  Actually she gave me money and I bought it.  Thanks Mother-Dearest!!  An electric pressure cooker.  It's fantastic.  I've made split pea soup in 1 hour, barbecue pork sandwiches in 1 hour 15 mins,  and this beef stew in 1 hour and 15 mins. as well.  Keep in mind this is from the time I pull a very frozen white package of meat out of my deep freeze to eating the tender, fall apart meat.   It's a miracle!  I'm hooked.  I just followed the recipe that came with my new toy, and added a big scoop of garlic mashed potatoes in the middle of the bowl.  Dinner was adored and it afforded me a nice little Sunday nap with the time I saved!  Yeah!!!

In making the recipe you will notice the addition of some spirits.  I have always felt if I'm going to add this then it might as well be on Sunday.  Just kidding!!!  I am totally kidding.  Actually you can replace the wine with beef stock or even apple juice.  If you do just add a little vinegar at the end.  You'll like it.  I didn't add any potatoes to my Beef Bourguignon since we were topping it with some mashed potatoes, but if you're not in the mood for dirtying a potato pot as well, just add some cubed potatoes with the other veggies.  Some Great Harvest Asiago Sourdough bread goes fantastic with this stew as well.  Sorry, that's my shameless plug for you to buy more bread:)  Enjoy!

Classic Beef Stew (Courtesy of Cuisinart)
Makes 8 cups
(PS- if you don't have a pressure cooker just put it in your crock pot for 4-6 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low.)

3 pounds beef chuck roast, cut into 11⁄2-to 2-inch pieces
kosher salt
fresh ground pepper 
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped 
1 medium carrot, finely chopped 
1 celery stalk, finely chopped 
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 cup dry red wine (I have no idea what a "dry" wine means.  They're all wet to me.)
2 tablespoons tomato paste 
1 bay leaf 3⁄4 cup beef broth (I never add bay.  I hate them!)
2 cups baby-cut carrots 
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened 
1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour 
1 cup frozen peas
Season pieces of chuck roast with salt and pepper and reserve. Place the olive oil in the cooking pot of the CuisinartTM Electric Pressure Cooker. Select Browning. When oil begins to sizzle, add pieces of chuck in a single layer – do not crowd. Continue browning meat in batches until all meat is browned. As meat is browned transfer to a plate. Select Sauté. Stir the chopped onions into the pot. With a wooden spoon scrape any brown bits from the bottom of the pan that have accumulated while meat was browning. Sauté for 1 to minutes, until onions start to soften and are translucent. Stir in the carrots and celery. Sauté vegetables for about minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the chopped garlic and Sauté for an additional minute.

Once vegetables are soft, stir in red wine, again scraping any brown bits that have accumulated on the bottom of the pot. Cook until red wine has reduced by half, then stir in the tomato paste.
Add the reserved beef, bay leaf, and beef broth to the pot. Select High Pressure. Set timer for 10 minutes. When audible beep sounds use Quick Pressure Release to release pressure. When float valve drops, remove lid carefully, tilting away from you to allow steam to disperse. Add carrots to the pot and select High Pressure. Set timer for 6 minutes. When audible beep sounds use Natural Pressure Release to release pressure. When float valve drops, remove lid carefully, tilting away from you to allow steam to disperse.

To thicken stew, strain the solids from the stew liquid, reserving both. Remove and discard bay leaf. Blend softened butter and flour to make a paste (buerre manié). Return liquid to pot and bring to a boil by selecting Brown. Once liquid comes to a bowl whisk in the butter/flour mixture. Select Simmer. Once liquid thickens, stir the meat and carrots back into the pot. Taste and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper accordingly. Just before serving, stir in peas.

Nutritional information per serving (11⁄2 cups): Calories 340 (32% from fat) • carb. 16g • pro. 35g •fat11g•sat.fat 4g•chol.103mg•sod.98mg • calc. 49mg • fiber 4g


  1. We are having a snow day here in good ole Texas! If you could see how much snow is out there you would bust a gut of laughter!! Paul of course went to work but the whole Northern part of this great state is closed. So, this stew looks so so yummy ( I would call it the Julia name but heavens... I think you are one of the few people who can spell that without looking ) LOVE the idea of the smashed potatoes in the middle!! Paul REALLY wants a pressure cooker! I think I just might have to get him one.... one of these days!

  2. I love that same song! I often hum it this time of year...especially "water like a stone" and "snow was falling, snow on snow, snow on snow..."

    You are sorely tempting me to go buy that same pressure cooker. I have heard several people got one for Christmas. Hmmmm....I wonder if they are still on sale at Kitchen Kneads?



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