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Pressure Cooker Lahmajoun Beef Stew

First of all, I want to make it clear that this is NOT a magic, super fast pressure cooker stew recipe but it is still easier and quicker than doing it on the stove and the flavour is more intense so the extra steps are worth it.

One the issues faced with making beef or pork stews in my Instant Pot is the disparity in cooking time for the meat vs the vegetables. I find that most stews leave me with vegetables that are about to disintegrate by the time the meat is cooked to perfection. To avoid this, many recipes will tell you to keep the vegetables almost whole to avoid this but I also don't want a bowl of stew with giant chunks of carrot and potato either.

 When it doubt, I turn to Serious Eats to see how they deal with the dilemma. I like to call it WWKD (what would Kenji do?)

I adapted his method to my recipe and it works beautifully but if you really insist on making it even easier,  you don't have to brown the cut up vegetables. You can always just throw in the bowl of chopped parsnip, carrot, potato, sweet potato and pearl onion completely raw after the initial cooking period. Browning them first just adds another layer of flavour but it will still only be a tiny bit less delicious if you skip that step.

So, as I always assure you, I only share products with you that I either already use myself or that I try out and love.  I am not here to shill stuff I wouldn't use in my own kitchen and I have already been using Saha Jerk Marinade for the last year. I am very picky about what pre made pastes and marinades that I use and I look for products with little or no chemicals or preservatives as well as great flavour. If that product is also made locally, I am over the moon and Saha is a Toronto company so it's a win, for me, on all levels. When they offered up the chance to try some new products along with different wines to pair each one with and get my thoughts, I gave an enthusiastic YES. They want to encourage the pairing of New World wines with their international, "street food" flavours, which I always find intriguing.

So, this is the first pairing - Lahmajoun with Fleur Du Cap Cabernet Sauvignon from New Zealand.
If I am going to pair the wine with a stew, I am going to throw some IN the stew as well and we were all quite pleased with the results. I am not sure I would have thought to pair a Cabernet with lahmajoun  sauce but it works. The marinade gave my regular stew a nice, new boost with a slightly acidic flavour that I really liked.

Lahmajoun is a Turkish flatbread that's prepared with a highly seasoned tomato sauce, minced meat, some vegetables and baked - kind of like a Turkish pizza. I would normally drink a cold beer with these flavours but the wine was great, much to my surprise.

I have three more bottles of wine and three more sauces that I am going to try out over the next month or so and will report back as I go.

I was not paid for this post but I did receive a gift box of product to try out and, if I liked it, to share with my readers. My opinions are very much my own

Lahmajoun Beef Stew

serves 3-4

2-3 tbls olive oil
600g stewing beef
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup Saha Lahmajoun Marinade
2 parsnips ( 1 left whole, one chopped into large, bite sized chunks)
2 carrots ( 1 left whole, one chopped into large, bite sized chunks)
2 celery stalks ( 1 left whole, the other chopped roughly)
1 onion, peeled and cut in half
approx 125g of pearl onions, peeled and left whole
1 yukon gold potato, cut in large bite sized pieces
1 small sweet potato, peeled and cut in large bite sized pieces
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup red wine (Fleur Du Cap Cabernet Sauvignon 2014)
1.5 cups chicken stock
1 bay leaf
3 or 4 sprigs of fresh thyme

*optional: mix 1 tbls of flour into 2 or 3 tbls of water or chicken stock to make a slurry that you will add after it's done cooking to thicken the stew up if desired.

Hit the "saute" button on your pressure cooker and when it says "hot" add the oil. Hit the beef with a good size pinch of kosher salt and a few grinds of black pepper and start to brown the meat, in batches, removing each batch to a bowl until it's all done. Don't crowd the pot or the meat steams instead of browns.

When all of the meat is seared, toss it with 1/4 cup of Lahmajoun Marinade and set aside.

Add another tbls of oil to the pot and saute the chopped carrot, parsnip, celery and pearl onion until they start to take on a bit of colour, season with a pinch of kosher salt and then remove to a bowl.

Pour the red wine into the pot and scrape up all the fond on the bottom and then let it simmer until it reduces by about a third, about 3 or 4 minutes. Now add in the chicken stock, the whole carrot, parsnip, celery, garlic and the two onion halves, the reserved stewing beef with any juices and the second 1/4 cup of Lahmajoun, lock in the lid and program for 20 minutes at HP or just hit the stew button if you like.

When the time is up, release the pressure, open the lid, remove the whole veg, thyme and bay leaves with tongs and discard. Add in the reserved, chopped vegetables, the potato and sweet potato, lock the lid on and program another 10 minutes at HP.

Give it about 5 minutes NPR, release the rest of the pressure.

*If you want it to be a bit thicker, add in the flour slurry, stir well, put the lid back on and let it sit for another 5 minutes before serving

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