Although I purchased my pressure cooker for making stocks, I thought it would be nice to try making a pressure-cooked stew as well. Pressure cookers are known as “fast cookers” (or actually “fast cooking pan”, “snelkookpan”) in Dutch, and in this case it is true because stewing beef in a pressure cooker only takes 20 minutes instead of 3 hours. Stating it like that is cheating a bit, because after those 20 minutes you need to wait for about half an hour for the pressure to go down. But still, it still means that you only have to start cooking 75 minutes or so before you’re having boeuf bourguignon and that is kind of nice.
I didn’t do a side-by-side test, but I couldn’t detect anything special about the pressure-cooked boeuf bourguignon compared to the traditional preparation. The meat was tender and flaky and just a tiny bit dry just like usual, and just like usual the slight dryness is overcome by the nice sauce. I do not completely understand why the meat comes out this nicely, because in a pressure cooker the meat is cooked at about 120C/250F so I would expect the meat to be dried out a lot more. From sous-vide cooking I know that temperatures above 70C/160F can already lead to dryness (because at such temperatures, muscle fibers will contract and squeeze out the juices). I’ll have to dry doing boeuf bourguignon sous-vide to see whether it can me made more juicy that way, but that would certainly take longer.
You can use the same recipe to make boeuf bourguignon in a regular casserole, you will just need to simmer it for 3 hours or so instead of pressure cooking for 20 minutes. Here’s what I did.
1 kilogram (2.2 lbs) beef stewing meat, such as chuck
375 ml (1/2 bottle) of red burgundy wine
500 ml (2 cups) brown beef stock
1 carrot, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic
100 grams (4 oz) bacon or pancetta
1 Tbsp double-concentrated tomato paste
1 Tbsp flour
1 bay leaf
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp softened butter + 1 Tbsp flour (beurre manié)
Cook the sauce over high heat for a few minutes to thicken it. Mix a tablespoon of flour and a tablespoon of softened butter to make beurre manié. Stir the beurre manié into the sauce to thicken it some more. Lower the heat and return the beef to the pan to heat it through.
Boeuf Bourguignon is a dish from Burgundy, so a red burgundy is appropriate. Pick a full bodied one that is from a vintage between 5 and 10 years ago.