kruizing with kikukat

Monday, October 3, 2016

Under Pressure: Almost Cafe 100 Beef Stew

Last Friday, I got a frantic call from D1.  She wanted my salsa recipe.  I chuckled silently to myself.  She goes to college in the land of salsa, good, real salsa, and she wants to make the salsa I make.  But being the good mommy that I am, I pointed her in the direction where she could get the recipe any time.

I know I haven't been too good about blogging recently.  I just haven't been able to do it weekly like I used to (a few years ago, I had the gumption to do it twice per week).  Blame other hobbies and having a shitload of other things to do, as well as poor time management on my part.  But D1's call reminded me that being able to provide her with recipes of "home food" (or at least a place where she can go to get them without relying on her own organizational skills) is a good reason to try to post regularly.

Back in 2013, I posted a recipe for beef stew made in a crock pot.  I went on at length about my history with beef stew.  It's been about three years since that post, and a lot has changed.  I will never get to have my mother's "natural" stew again.  I'm not saying that I would want to eat it, but I would love to have her offer some to me.  That won't happen, and I have very little confidence that my father would actually know how to make it.  And if he offered me some, I'd refuse it anyway.

I still don't like beef stew very much, but I cook it more now than I used to.  But after D1's call, I thought I'd be remiss in not posting a beef stew recipe she could easily make.  According to The Help and UJames, this version tastes very much like the one served at Cafe 100, an iconic Hilo drive-in.  Many Hilo ex-pats make it a point to stop there when they come home for a visit.  And if, like D1, you don't own a pressure cooker, you can make this the traditional way. The pressure cooker advantage is being able to cook and serve a pot of beef stew for dinner in the short time between the end of the standard work day and dinner.

So after D1 had a chance to go to the website and check out the salsa recipe, I received another call from her.  This time, she asked, "Mom, do you really put in onions, bell peppers and olives, in the salsa?  Did you really put stewed tomatoes in the salsa I ate at home?  I don't think I eat any of those things."  I told her she did indeed eat all of those things.  Now I'm hoping she won't call and ask about the stewed tomatoes in this recipe!

click on recipe title for printable recipe

     2 lbs boneless beef stew meat
     flour
     oil
     1 c water
     1 onion, cut in chunks
     1 stalk celery, sliced
     3 carrots, cut in chunks
     2 russet potatoes, cut in chunks
     1 15 oz. can stewed tomatoes (broken up with hand blender or kitchen shears)
     1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
     1 tsp salt
     1/4 tsp pepper
     1 tsp sugar

Pressure Cooker instructions:  Dust meat in flour and brown in heated oil.  Drain excess fat.  Add water, bring to a boil and cook at high pressure for 15 minutes (may go up to 30 minutes if meat chunks are large).  Use natural release method to lower pressure.  Add vegetables and other ingredients and cook at high pressure for 5 minutes.  Use cold water release method to lower pressure.  Thicken gravy by mixing 1 tbsp flour with some water and add to stew.  Return to a boil, then simmer until ready to serve.

Traditional instructions:  Dust meat in flour and brown in heated oil.  Drain excess fat.  Add water, bring to a boil and simmer about 1 hour.  Add vegetables and other ingredients and continue cooking until vegetables are cooked.  Thicken gravy by mixing 1 tbsp flour with some water and add to stew.  Return to a boil, then simmer until ready to serve.