A pressure cooker can reduce the cooking time of beef stew from several hours to less than one. Because the stew is cooked under high heat pressure, the collagen or connective tissues of the meat is broken down quickly, and the meat becomes tender. A pressure cooker consists of two parts, the base pot and a locking lid. The lid has a pressure gauge; this gauge could be attached to the lid and cook at only one pressure (usually 10 pounds), or it might be adjustable and allow for cooking at 10 or 15 pounds.
Prepare the Meat
Stew meat should be cut into one-inch cubes. You can purchase stew meat from the store or cut it from rump, round or pot roasts yourself. Season the meat with pepper and other spices you choose. Place 2 tbsp. cooking oil in the bottom of the pressure cooker, and heat over medium-high heat. Sear the stew beef on all sides. Add in one chopped onion, and cook until the onion is translucent. Add 2 cups water, two bay leaves, 2 tbsp. of Worcestershire sauce (or soy sauce) and 1 tsp. each of sugar, pepper and paprika.
Cook the Beef
Place the lid on the pot, and lock into place. Set the pressure gauge to 10 pounds if your pressure cooker gauge is adjustable. Let the cooker cook over medium-high heat until the gauge begins to jiggle. Turn the heat down to medium, and let the meat cook for 15 minutes. Remove the cooker from the stove top.
Release the Pressure
Place a baking rack in the bottom of your kitchen sink and place the pressure cooker on the rack. Run cold water over the pressure cooker until steam ceases to escape and the cover can be removed from the cooker without using any force.
Make the Stew
Place the pot back on the stove top, and add three to four diced potatoes, three carrots sliced into 1/2 inch slices and one pound frozen peas. Replace the lid and bring the pot back up to 10 pounds pressure. Cook for three to five minutes, and release the pressure in the sink.
Finish the Stew
In a small bowl, mix together 2 tbsp. of flour, 1 tsp. of paprika and 1/4 cup of water. Pour this into the liquid in the pot and cook, uncovered, over medium-high heat until the liquid is thick and bubbly.