There are few things I find more rewarding than taking a cheap, tough piece of meat and slow cooking it until it’s falling off the bone. Often though I find that by the time I start thinking about dinner it’s too late to cook meat in this way. This is especially true ever since Steph and I became parents. So, these days dinner is more often a matter of what can be pulled together quickly, rather than cooking the way you really want to. However, ever since my last birthday, things have changed.
Before we get into that though, I want to make it clear that my birthday is not a big deal for me. I’m happy just doing something fun but low-key on the day, and really don’t care whether or not I get presents. However, the instant I do receive something, I immediately get my hopes up. The good little Catholic boy in me says I should be happy with the fact that someone took the time and effort to get me something. But, unfortunately the low life scumbag side of me has much higher expectations.
So… what did Steph get me for my birthday last year? Well, I can tell you what it wasn’t! It wasn’t the $3,000 tennis ball machine that I have wanted since forever. Nor was it a licence to re-enter the World of Warcraft where all my buddies are waiting for me to lead them to nerd heaven. No, it was something much closer to Steph’s heart… she bought me a pressure cooker.
I swear to the gods that if it was any other year in my life, I would have been livid. There would have been some serious questions about how well Steph really knew me. I can only imagine how the scene would have played out:
- Steph handing me the present and me getting excited because it is a big bloody box!
- Ripping the wrapping paper with a big grin on my face.
- Reading the labels on the box and my grin disappearing.
- Then the feeling of MASSIVE DISAPPOINTMENT as the realisation sets in that the present is an absolute DUD!
- Putting on a fake smile and thanking her with a hug and a kiss.
- Silently thinking to myself “What the $#@! did I do to deserve this?”
But as it turns out, it was exactly what I wanted and needed! It really is funny how life changes as you get older. It makes me worry what types of presents I’ll be asking for next year. But seriously, having an electric pressure cooker has meant we can still eat many of the slow-cooked dishes we used to enjoy in a fraction of the time. This dish I am posting up today, originally took 6 hours to prepare! With the pressure cooker, it now only takes 1 hour and 30 mins! The figures speak for themselves!!
To all those reading this post, I strongly suggest you go out and get one. It will change your life!
PS Watch this space because I will be posting a lot more pressure cooker recipes!
Pressure Cooker Oxtail and Pappardelle Pasta
- 500 gm pappardelle or pasta of your choice
- 1.5 kg beef oxtail, washed and cleaned
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves peeled and finely chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and very finely chopped
- 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
- 8 white cup mushrooms, sliced
- 700 ml passata or tomato puree
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- freshly cracked pepper (to your taste)
- 2 bay leaves
- parsley, finely chopped
- parmesan cheese, finely grated
- dried chilli flakes
- Prepare all your vegetables.
- Prepare the oxtail by washing them under a tap to remove any small pieces of bone. Dry the oxtail with a paper towel and trim off as much excess fat as you want. (Note 1)
- In a fry pan, add 1 tbsp of oil and saute all the vegetables for 10 minutes on medium high.
- After 10 minutes, add the sauteed vegetables to the pressure cooker and the rest of the meat sauce ingredients except the oxtails. Stir with a wooden spoon until completely combined. Then add the oxtails and cover them in the sauce,
- Cook on high pressure (I use the meat / stew setting) for 50 mins to 1 hour. (Note 2)
- Carefully depressurize the cooker and remove the lid as instructed in your pressure cooker manual.
- Using a spoon, remove the desired amount of fat suspended on top of the sauce. (Try to leave some fat since it adds great flavour and richness to the sauce)
- Remove the oxtails from the pot and let them cool. Once they can be handled, pull the meat off into chunks and add them back to the sauce. Or skip this step and serve the oxtails whole.
- Boil plenty of water with a good pinch of salt and cook the pasta as directed on the packaging. Strain your pasta once it’s done.
- Check the seasoning of your sauce and adjust according to your taste. Also, check the thickness of your sauce. Allow the sauce to reduce further if you like it richer and thicker by using the saute function on your pressure cooker.
- Serve the dish with either the sauce mixed through or on top of the pasta and garnish with finely chopped parsley, Parmesan cheese and dried chilli flakes.
- Try to get oxtails that have been cut at the joints and not through the bone. This will prevent small pieces of hard bone floating in your sauce. If this is not possible, scrub the oxtails with your fingers under a tap to remove as much bone debris as you can.
- At 50 mins, all small oxtails will be falling off the bone while medium to large ones will still have some bite. At the 1 hr 10 min mark, all sizes of oxtails will be falling off the bone or very close to it. I personally prefer all my oxtails to be falling off the bone.