When I was growing up, my mother would make a "quick" beef stew in a pressure cooker. I never quite got the hang of using one, myself. I prefer to let the meat simmer on the stove for at least two hours so that it is tender. This is especially true with lean stew meat. Smaller pieces don't take as long to cook, but still require adequate time so as not to be too tough. This recipe for beef stew is one I developed over the course of my adult life. It's pretty basic, but is a favorite any time I have house guests on a cold night. The beef stew recipe below can be adapted to a slow cooker by searing the meat in a skillet first, then transferring all the ingredients except the potatoes to the crock pot and cook on high for 4 hours, or low for 8 hours. Allow 30 minutes at the end to separately peel, cut and boil the potatoes in water with some salt and pepper, then add to the stew before serving. Ingredients: 1 lb of lean stew meat 1 tablespoon cooking oil 2 tablespoons all purpose flour about 6 cups water 1 medium onion 5 or 6 carrots 3 or 4 russet potatoes - peeled 1 16 oz can stewed tomatoes 3 medium bay leaves salt to taste pepper to taste worcestershire sauce to taste Pour oil into a large stock pot or dutch oven on stove and set to medium high heat. Add meat. Every few minutes turn the meat so that all surfaces get browned. Add flour and stir around on the bottom of pot so that it absorbs the oil and juices from the meat. It will be a little gummy. Season with a little salt and pepper. Add bay leaves. Add water to cover and stir to liberate anything stuck to the bottom of the pot. Bring the water up to a boil, then turn down to a simmer. Cover the pot, and set timer for 1 hour. Periodically, check to make sure the water is not boiling over, or boiling all away. After the beef has simmered for 1 hour, cut up carrots, onion, potatoes and tomatoes into about one inch pieces. Add all the vegetables to the stew pot. Add more water to cover and re-season. Potatoes take up a lot of salt. Throw in a splash of worcestershire sauce for taste and color. Allow the stew to simmer for another 30 minutes, until the carrots and potatoes are fork tender. Check the seasoning. Remove the bay leaves. Serve in large bowls with slices of fresh cornbread or hot French bread. Makes about 6 servings.