Beef burgundy

I broke out the pressure cooker and made beef stew.  I’ve always been somewhat afraid of pressure cookers.  My mother used one all the time, and it was a first-generation jiggle-top, to boot, but I don’t remember her standing around wondering if the thing was going to blow up.  I think I need to use this more often to feel confident.  It’s a second-generation cooker with a spring-valve and pop-up pressure indicator that has several safety features not found on first-generation jiggle-tops, like a secondary valve system to release pressure if it builds beyond a certain point.  Apparently this newer technology was invented by Kuhn-Rikon in Switzerland in 1949, but only introduced in the US in 1990.  Speaks volumes, nicht wahr?  If you are still using an old jiggle-top, by all means get one of these modern European jobs.  If you never had a pressure cooker at all, you are in for a real treat.  For example, if you toss in three pounds of beef stew meat with a little water and a goodly amount of red wine (you generally need a minimum of a cup of liquid, but make sure you check the requirement for your particular model) along with fresh thyme, sautéed onion and garlic plus salt and pepper, you’ll have fork-tender meat that’s a little like beef burgundy in about 20 minutes at 15 psi.  Add the time you need to build up to that pressure and the time to allow it to release naturally, and you are looking at something like an hour.  Thicken the sauce and serve over rice.  Words of warning:  you can fill these things to the 2/3 level only, so don’t get a small one or you’ll be sorry.  I think everyone in the house gets killed if you fill it up beyond 2/3.

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