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Sunday, 1 June 2014

Beef chilli and beans

Beef chilli with beans and rice
Shin of beef chilli with pinto and kidney beans made for a luxurious meal.
The shin of beef contains quite a lot of silvery looking tough membrane. This doesn't need removing as it breaks down whilst cooking, and adds lots of flavour.
We invested in a pressure cooker as we regularly cook with tougher cuts of meat. A slow cooker is great if you plan ahead, but the pressure cooker is fab if you want to be more spontaneous.
After a busy day at work you can pick up a budget cut of meat and enjoy it that very evening.
This meal normally takes around 6-8 hours in a slow cooker. It took just 20 minutes in the pressure cooker and the results were impressive.
I also bought dried pinto and kidney beans after reading how quickly and easily they can be cooked under pressure. Again, the results were pretty amazing. Although I was prepared, and had soaked the beans beforehand, they can also be cooked using a fast method in the pressure cooker.
For this dish I used my usual beef chilli recipe, but replaced the can of kidney beans with the pre-soaked kidney and pinto beans. After 20 minutes at high pressure, I turned off the heat and let the pressure drop naturally. As for the beans, we were really impressed with the creamy, silky texture of beans cooked this way. Great if you are on a budget as dried beans are a fraction of the price of tinned beans. The real bonus - a very rich and tender, budget meal in under half an hour.
Here's the recipe:

800g shin of beef
1 large can chopped tomatoes
400g pre-soaked beans - we mixed kidney and pinto
500ml stock or water
glass of red wine (optional)
2 large onions
2 large cloves of garlic - finely chopped
tablespoon tomato puree
2 star anise (don't worry if you don't have this)
1 whole chilli
1 tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp paprika (preferably smoked)
cornflour (add after cooking)
salt (add after cooking)
Brown the beef in the base of the pressure cooker. Remove and set aside. 

Chop the onions and fry in a little oil in the base of the cooker, until lightly browned. Add the garlic, chilli flakes and paprika to the onions and stir in the tomato puree. Cook for 2 minutes.

If using wine, add this and turn the heat up and boil for 2 minutes.

Add the beef, stock/water, tomatoes, pinto and kidney beans.

Place the whole chilli into the pot along with the star anise. Add pepper, but leave the salt until after cooking.

Cook on the high setting (15 psi) for 20 minutes. Refer to you manual for guidelines on cooking times relating to the make of the pressure cooker, as they may differ. 

Turn off the heat and let the pressure reduce naturally. 

Add salt to taste. 

We've found if we don't add enough salt, the chilli heat won't come through, so I recommend adding salt a little at a time and tasting as you go.

Don't forget to remove the chilli and star anise!

If we need to thicken the sauce (we didn't this time), we tend to use cornflour. Mix a tablespoon of cornflour mixed with enough cold water to loosen it. Then add some of the hot chilli liquid to the cold flour mix before adding to the chilli. Cook gently for 2-3 minutes to thicken.
Do you know how many calories you are allowed each day? Once we found out, our weight loss really began to take shape.
Here's a link to our very first blog post about our weight loss journey, which began in January 2011. We started this blog as a way of recording what we ate while losing weight. The blog is a food diary, and contains lots of recipes, tips and ideas about losing weight.
You'll find our WEIGHT LOSS PLAN here. 
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