We’ve started 2015 off with a week of Arctic Blast temperatures and I absolutely hate being cold. To combat the cold winds, I’ve been cooking more comfort foods like this Beef Roast I’m about to share with you. To me, comfort foods are those yummy meals from my childhood that give me a virtual hug while they cook that I don’t make very often because they either take too long to prepare in my busy life or are just too fattening to eat very often and it is the beginning of the year after all. How many have fallen off the wagon already? Ha ha… no need to raise your hand… You’re in good company (as I pop a leftover chocolate covered cherry in my mouth 😉

Let me just start off by saying don’t be afraid of a pressure cooker. New models have built-in safety features. I am no fancy chef, just a normal cook throwing things together and occasionally following a recipe or tweaking it here and there and let me tell you a pressure cooker is the busy cook’s friend. I’ll show you my set at the end of the post. But if you just can’t get over the fear of blowing the top off the cooker and consequently dying a terrible beefy death you can of course make this dish in the oven. Actually, that’s the way I grew up eating roast. Mom always made it wrapped in foil and in the oven. Just remember, low and slow in the oven. It just is quicker with a pressure cooker! Now on to the Beef Roast! Mmmmmmm

Beef Roast with gravy, potatoes and carrots made in a pressure cooker #yummy

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  • Roast (the great thing about pressure cooking – buy that cheap cut and it will be tender and yummy) I used chuck.
  • Veggies of your choice – I like the basics. Potatoes, carrots, onions, celery
  • Oil to brown the meat (optional – you don’t have to brown the meat but I think it makes it look better plus you get drippings for gravy)
  • Seasonings – Salt, pepper, sugar and I used a special secret mix that was my mom’s from the butcher she used. Smells like steak seasoning to me.
  • water – 2 cups
  • 1 package dry onion soup mix
  • Kitchen Bouquet (for gravy)
  • Cornstarch (for gravy)
  • Water for gravy at the end (could use wine)

Let’s get to it.

I start off by letting my meat sit out for about 30 minutes or so to take the chill off. I’m not sure if this actually does anything but I’ve seen the fancy chef’s on TV do it. So go get the meat, put it on the counter, grab a beverage and come back to your computer and spend your 30 minutes or so to take a look at my paintings here!

Okay enough self promotion. Let’s say you’re ready now… on with the show. I have a glass top stove (see… not a fancy gas stove chef) and I use my largest burner (my power burner) that gets hot and fast. I added about 2 T give or take of vegetable oil to the pressure cooker and set my burner on med-high (like 7) and get my oil to where I can see it rippling. Meanwhile, I have rubbed a little oil, salt, pepper and that secret butcher seasoning mix all over my meat – and it liked it… ha ha.

Once the oil is hot, I throw in some thinly sliced onion and put the meat in fat side down on top of it. It will sizzle and hiss and make all kinds of popping sounds and oil will escape – so don’t have your ipad and your child’s homework sitting right there (not that I would know, ahem). Leave it alone for a few minutes, but don’t burn the house down.

Using tongs, pick up the meat and check to see if it’s nice and brown underneath. We’re not cooking the meat just searing it and getting the flavorful fat drippings and making it a pleasing dark brown color. I brown all sides of the meat. Once sufficiently browned, pull the cooker off the heat, pull out the onions and set aside and remove the meat, cut it up in to smaller pieces (about 3″ chunks).

To the cooker (and fat), add 2 cups of water, onion soup mix and stir it up then place meat back in the cooker. Place cooker back on the burner and put your pressure cooker lid on. Make sure you have it on so where the pressure cannot escape! (again, not that I would know)

*I still learn new things all the time and discovered I should be cooking my meat off the floor of the cooker and on the trivet – oops! So if you’ve got a strainer or trivet use it! I have burned food to the bottom before and I’m sure this would’ve stopped that. Live and learn.

Here is where you want to follow your pressure cooker directions for cooking but here is what I do:
I bring the pressure cooker to 15 pounds of pressure quickly on high then drop it down to low (about 2-3) to get nice even low hiss and just keep an ear open. My Fagor cooker doesn’t have numbers like the old fashioned kind that have a pressure gauge, but I know there is pressure in my cooker when this little orange pin pops up and this is when I start the timer. There are safety escape valves for the pressure so I’m guessing it’s dummy proof.

I’ve used my cooker a lot so I have developed a touch if you will for my glass top stove. Manufacturers recommend for glass top stoves that you have another burner ready to transfer the cooker to that is already set on a low setting. I never bother with this but I’m guessing it would be needed for more delicate foods like fish and green beans, etc. Cook it too long and you’ve got baby food.

The recommended cooking time for meat varies on cut and thickness so check your manual but I set my timer for 35 minutes for my 2½ lbs chuck roast that was about 2 inches tall. Once I got that set, I started washing and peeling veggies. I like the sound of a busy kitchen, don’t you? My son on the floor playing with legos chatting and me peeling and chopping while the hissing of the cooker goes is just so homey to me. I’m sure this will be a fond memory for him someday.

Vegetable peeler and knife on a green cutting board

Okay. Potatoes are peeled and cubed, carrots are cut into thin sticks (cause I like them kinda mushy), celery is washed and tops cut for use and onion is quartered. Cooking time for the beef roast is done. I used the natural release method which you take the cooker off the burner and let the pressure escape on its own at a slow pace. It doesn’t take very long. As soon as my little orange pin goes back down, I switch the dial to let the steam escape away from anyone or myself. You don’t want a facial or nasty steam burn.

I removed the meat and put it in a large bowl on the stove with a clean towel over it to keep it warm. Next in, the colander and it’s stand. I put in the cubed potatoes, popped the lid back on and got the cooker quickly back up to full pressure and set my timer for about 4 minutes. When the timer went off I took the cooker off the burner and did a quick release by opening that steam release valve – look out cause it really shoots that steam out. Great for all my plants in the kitchen during this dry winter.

After the pressure is released, add the carrots on top of the potatoes (I use my mom’s old trick- sprinkle carrots with a little sugar) and get the lid back on, then get it back up to pressure and once again time starts once the orange pin pops up. This time for 1 minute, yes seriously! It really does go quickly. Open your cooker with the quick release again and poke the potatoes and carrots with a fork to see if they’re done enough for you. If not, pop the lid back on and try another minute. We’re almost ready to eat!

On a side note, you may notice that the onions below are not the nice crispy brown color of a sautéed onion (like when I browned the roast beef with the onions in the beginning). I wish I had taken a photo, but I didn’t. Admittedly, I ate them almost as soon as I pulled them out and they were delish – no regrets!

potatoes and carrots out of pressure cooker

Meanwhile while my potatoes were cooking, I started my oven to bake some delicious yeast dinner rolls. I found these Sister Schubert’s in the frozen isle and they are wonderful and only take about 5-10 minutes in the oven.

Sister Schuberts Yeast Dinner rolls

Pull everything out and add to that bowl you’ve got the meat waiting in. In all honesty, it wouldn’t all fit but here’s a nice pic of the meat with some veggies.

beef roast, carrots, potatoes just out of pressure cooker

Plated up, isn’t it pretty?

potatoes carrots and beef roast

But wait!! Where’s the gravy? Oh we can’t forget the gravy. I’m not using any old gravy out of a jar, package or can either (although I’m not too proud to tell you I have) But it’s so easy, why not make your own. If you can make a gravy, you can make so many dishes better an easily. Like biscuits and milk gravy (my husband’s fav) or a beautiful Béchamel – how fancy does that sound?! It really is so easy. Here’s what you need for the beef roast gravy:

ingredients for making beef gravyMix 2 Tablespoons of cornstarch really well into ¼ cup of cold water. Add and heat up this mixture to your left over juices and bits that are left over in the cooker (with all meat and veggies out first!) Whisk it up and keep that whisk moving on the bottom and as soon as it comes to a boil it magically thickens! Then decide if you need more liquid to thin it out which I didn’t in this case. I turn down the heat and continue stirring and that’s when I add Kitchen Bouquet (found in the isle with ketchup) a couple of splashes. This makes it a beautiful brown and adds even more flavor. Plus, it’s what Mom always did so I do, too. I remember it being in a glass bottle and was shocked to find it now sold in plastic, I don’t know why I’m surprised. We’re sadly a plastic society these days… sigh.

Making beef gravy from scratchMan it smells good in here… meanwhile in the oven…

Rolls Baking in the oven

Beauty shot of finished beef roast, potatoes and carrots with glistening rich gravy all made in a pressure cooker

You may want to pull your tongue back in your mouth. At least I need to looking at it again. Heh heh Oh yeah… it’s as good as it looks and the meat is so tender thanks to my trusty pressure cooker. I’ve got the epitome of home cooked comfort food on a weeknight. Granted this is not something I’ll cook that often, mainly because meat is expensive! But this is a fantastic occasional winter Sunday dinner for spreading love to your family.

Oh, and here is my set of Fagor pressure cookers. I don’t recall what I paid for mine years ago but make sure to find a coupon!

my Fagor set of cookersI have some pressure cooker recipes on my blog here, (a popular Greek Potatoes one here and Italian Beef here) but you can turn most recipes into pressure cooker recipes. Mashed potatoes are the best in a pressure cooker! No more water logged potatoes! Plus, you keep a lot of the vitamins and nutrients in food when you use a pressure cooker. Not to mention you can infuse any flavor via liquids into whatever you are cooking (think orange chicken)

I have learned to pressure cook completely online and thru the manual. My mom never did it. Grandma B. did, but I didn’t learn how from her. She had the old fashioned kind where the top teetered on top and it whistled. I remember green beans on the ceiling once! The best site I’ve found for learning how to cook with a pressure cooker is through Miss Vickie. I hope that you give pressure cooking a try or even just this Beef Roast recipe in the oven. I’d love to hear any tips or tricks that you’ve run into in the comments. Give me a shout and feel free to Pin it!

Happy Cooking ~ and Eating!

paintings by New Harmony, Indiana artist Jaime Haney




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