Saturday, 22 September 2018

Zigni - Spicy Eritrean Beef Stew with Instant Pot Pressure Cooker and Slow Cooker method

Love spicy food? Fancy trying something new? Then why not have a go at this delicious Eritrean beef stew.

In our house at the moment, shin of beef is currently enjoying a period of popularity, as it is one of the most delicious, tasty and tender cuts of beef to cook slowly and also relatively economical.

Aside from a handful of staples, I've always enjoyed cooking new dishes on a regular basis, and re-creating food that I've enjoyed out and about. Finding new ways to slow-cook beef is always good fun, as there are so many different ways from so many different countries.
This is not a difficult dish to cook, it's extremely tasty and it's well worth making your own berbere spice mix to make it with, as that is also a simple thing to do once you've assembled the ingredients. 
Serves 8 to 10, or more as part of a selection of dishes. You can easily half this quantity if you wish to, and it freezes really well.

394 to 492 calories per serving (depending on whether a tenth or an eighth of the whole quantity - if you want to knock off around 30 calories a portion you can use pure oil spray for browning the beef and cooking the peppers, but you will need the keep the oil as stated for browning the onions).

*Tbsp measures are level 15ml spoons. Calories in square brackets
  • 1.6kg beef shin, cut into 2-3cm cubes [2,640]
  • 4.5tbsp neutral oil (e.g. sunflower, vegetable) [617]
  • 6 garlic cloves, crushed [36]
  • 2 inches of ginger, peeled and grated [7]
  • 3 large brown onions, peeled and chopped (600g) [246]
  • 5 tbsp berbere, or to taste (to make your own, see my recipe here - highly recommended to get the correct spicing levels) [90]
  • 3 red bell peppers / capsicums, de-seeded, quartered and sliced [102]
  • 1 litre beef stock (I like to use Knorr touch of taste - check gluten free if applicable) [40]
  • 800g large plum tomatoes, peeled and chopped [160]
  • Salt

For convenience, if you have two large, non-stick frying pans (or similar), you'll halve your preparation time by cooking the onions in one, while you cook the beef and peppers in the other.

1. In a large non-stick pan, cook the chopped onions in 2 tbsp of the oil over a low heat, slowly, until caramelised to a nice golden brown, stirring now and then - it will take a while, at least 30 minutes. Don't burn them.

2. While the onions are cooking, season the beef with a little salt, then brown the beef in batches in another large non-stick pan - I recommend doing it in 4 batches, using 1/2 tbsp per batch. Transfer to your pressure cooker pan, or a large pot.

3. After browning the beef, deglaze the pan you used with approx. 200ml of the beef stock, scraping up the browned juices until bubbling, then add to the pressure cooker / pot with the beef.

4. Cook the sliced peppers with the remaining 1/2 tbsp oil for a few minutes, until some start to caramelise on the edges and add to the beef.

5. Once the onions have caramelised, add the garlic and ginger to the pan, turn up the heat a little, and cook for a couple of minutes, then add the berbere and cook for a couple more minutes until fragrant, being careful not to burn the garlic or spices. Add to the beef.

6. Add the remaining 1.8l beef stock to the beef and give everything a really good stir.

7. If using a pressure cooker, tip the chopped tomatoes on top of the beef but DO NOT stir them in (to prevent burning while pressure cooking). Cook on high pressure for 40 minutes, then allow natural pressure release for 15 to 20 minutes before releasing any remaining pressure then go to step 8. If using a slow cooker, bring to a simmer, then cook on high for 5 hours, or low for 9 to 10 hours, then go to step 8. Alternatively bring to a simmer on the hob and cook covered for a couple of hours, or until the beef is just tender, then go to step 8.

8. Finally, simmer for 40 to 50 minutes, uncovered, stirring frequently to prevent burning on the base until the liquid has greatly reduced (by around 40% / nearly half) and has thickened (Instant Pot, set to normal saute mode - I reduce mine down to around the 6 cups mark). 

After reducing on a simmer
Before reducing on a simmer

Taste for seasoning (you probably won't need to add anything), then serve with injera or rice. Enjoy!

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