Archive | August, 2011

Turning up the pressure

2 Aug

I bought a pressure cooker a wee while ago.

I’d never cooked with a pressure cooker before, but read the manual (and yes, I bought a pressure cooker cook book too) and decided it couldn’t be too difficult or dangerous.  And it’s not.

I made soup.  I made braised beef (vaguely from a recipe book). And then I didn’t make anything for a while.

But I’m about to enter festival-time and that means there will be little time for the niceties in life, like cooking my own meals.  So, this evening was all about the homemade meals for 40 days and 40 nights.  OK, only 25 days and nights, but it’ll feel like more.

So, the pressure cooker was pressed into action to make beef stew.

I caramelised a bag of shallots, then put them to one side.  Then I browned about 1 1/2lb diced beef, after it had been tossed in flour (mixed with herbs, spice and salt and pepper).  The browned meat was also put to one side.

A carton of chopped tomatoes and some water was added, with a beef stock cube.  Add back in all the meat and the shallots.

I threw in some mushrooms and then snapped shut the lid.  The next bit is the anxiety-making bit with a pressure cooker – you put the weight on the lid and start to turn up the heat.  Not too hot mind you.

Nothing much happens for a while, then it all gets a bit steamy.  A wee red button pops up, and steam seems to escape from places you think steam shouldn’t be escaping from.  And then, eventually, the weight starts spinning round and round.  Turn down the heat, so it spins gently.

I cooked the beef for around 30 mins, and it is now tender and delicious.  And divided into 6 separate foil tins to go into the freezer in the morning.

Yeah, I know, it’s not really enough for 40 days and 40 nights.  But honestly, how hard is it to cook a salmon fillet?

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