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Cook: Don’t release the pressure

release-the-pressureIt was Heston the lord of molecular, who first preached the virtues of pressure  and since the purchase of my £25 Tower (I wish I had traded up to the shinier, easier to clean stainless version) I have never looked back. A pressure cooker cooks quickly without allowing any evaporation so flavours become concentrated. This is great for curries, soups and sauces, but this device really comes into its own for stewing particularly tough cuts of meat. The likes of ox tail, beef cheek and scrag end of lamb would usually take hours of slow cooking are tenderised in under an hour.

Waitrose launched a Forgotten Cuts campaign last year with the aim of encouraging shoppers to rediscover those less fashionable cuts of meat that deserve more attention. Luckily for me and my Tower nobody seems to be biting and the FC range are nearly always reduced and sold off for pennies. The lovely old lady at the counter last week, who was buying 23p worth of pork belly, said she would get ‘two lovely meals’ out of it. I bet her back door is always open (and there is a stolen bottle of Sherry in her handbag) – just like in the war!

I threw a kilo of beef cheek, can of tomatoes, star anise, bottle of red wine into the Tower and cooked – full steam ahead. After an hour the lid was removed and I added salt, pepper, lemon zest, capers and reduced the liquid for a further 10 mins. Add some fresh basil and serve with good quality dried spaghetti – cooked obviously!

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