I decided to give one of the ‘bedrocks’ recipes in Economy Gastronomy a go this week. I really like this recipe book and think it’s got some great tips for making really good food a bit cheaper – not super budget, but a lot better than most cookbooks.
The recipe I chose was the ‘daube of beef’ and I did make quite a few changes. Since you’re supposed to use 2.5kg of beef to make three meals for four people (you make pasta sauce then pasties with the leftovers), I halved the recipe – there’s only two of us and I only have so much room in the freezer!
I also used my pressure cooker to make the stew, because I wanted to see if I could make it really tender that way. It worked really well (though there was too much liquid so I had to simmer for quite a long time after removing the lids to reduce down – but then I think that really helped tenderise it further), but I’ll also include rough timings for cooking in a casserole dish in the oven, too.
Oh and if you don’t want to simmer as long at the end, you can reduce the stock, but mine had a real richness of taste and tenderness in the meat that I’ve never achieved before in a casserole, so I think I’d continue to use just as much as allow to simmer down for a good while. I used beer rather than the wine that the recipe recommends, purely as that’s what I had on hand, so do feel free to use wine if you prefer.
Pressure cooker beef stew (makes roughly 6-7 portions)
- roughly 1.25kg diced stewing beef
- 4 rashers bacon, chopped
- 6 small onions, peeled and cut into halves
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 can beer
- 1 litre beef stock
- 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
Heat the vegetable oil in the bottom of your pressure cooker, and add the onions and bacon. Fry gently for around 10 minutes, until the bacon is starting to crisp and the onions are starting to become translucent, then add the garlic. Fry for a further minute or two.
Add the bay leaves, beer, beef stock and beef. Put the lid on the pressure cooker, bring to pressure, then cook for 30 minutes under pressure. Use the quick release method (running cold water over the lid for mine) to open and check the beef by smushing between a wooden spoon and a fork. If it’s starting to fall apart, move on to the next step, but if not, put the lid back on, bring back up to pressure then cook for a further 10-15 minutes until starting to fall apart.
At this point, there will be a lot of liquid in the pan. With the lid off, bring to a heavy simmer and allow to reduce for at least half an hour or longer (I ended up leaving mine nearly an hour while I made everything else), until the sauce has thickened up to your taste.
If you don’t have a pressure cooker, use a hob-safe casserole dish and, when all the ingredients are in, put into an oven preheated to 170C. It’ll take somewhere between 2 1/2- 3 1/2 hours – just keep checking every twenty minutes after 1 1/2 hours, then remove the lid for the last 30-45 minutes of cooking, to let the sauce reduce down.
Serve with potatoes (I also had Yorkshires, recipe here) and plenty of veg (I had roast parsnips and cabbage). You can either have leftovers as stew (will freeze well) or do as Economy Gastronomy does and make pasties and/or pasta sauce out of it.