Thursday, August 29, 2013

Recipe: Pressure cooker lamb ragu

Since getting out of hospital I've started cooking again. Part of my depression recovery plan is to make sure Noo and I eat better. We all know it's critical for good mental and physical health whether you're a late 30s mum or an almost five year old boy. Hell, we all need good food and exercise.

So far we've had chicken sticks, spagbol, tuna rice and veggie patties, and cottage pie served with salad. Tonight Noo and I made ham and pineapple pizza together which was delicious. But the recipe I wanted to share with you now is for a dish I made a little while ago while we were up the Mountains, before I went to hospital. I took all the photos as I was cooking but somehow life got in the way of me publishing the recipe.

Earlier on this year I was the lucky winner of a Tefal Cook4Me pressure cooker. I entered a competition on Kate Says Stuff and was so stoked when I was notified by Kate that I'd won. The massive box arrived soon after and both my parents and I were amazed at its size. Where the hell would we fit this appliance into our already stuffed apartment?

The obvious solution was to send the Cook4Me up to my parents house in the Blue Mountains. We have a bit more space there and it is the perfect place to cook and eat hearty food like lamb ragu.

I must admit I had doubts about the appliance. Why? It looked too good to be true. I recently bought a slow cooker and I didn't like it at all and actually gave it away to Noo's day care. The Cook4Me however is awesome. So good I'm thinking we've got to get it back to town so I can use it more often!

I got the recipe from my favourite recipe website but I adjusted it for the pressure cooker. The original recipe can be found here.

Without further ado - my first go of the Tefal Cook4Me...

Cook4Me Lamb Ragu


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 kg half leg of lamb
1 large brown onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
About a 10 cm chunk of bacon speck cubed
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1cm pieces
2 sticks of celery, cut into 1cm pieces
1/2 cup fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme, sage, parsley - whatever you've got)
1/2 cup red wine
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 x 400 g cans diced tomatoes
2 cups chicken stock

Pasta of your choice
Parmesan cheese to serve


1. Prepare

I like to take out all the ingredients I need and prepare the veggies, herbs and meat so everthing is laid out ready to go. I didn't read the recipe correctly and so cut my lamb into large chunks rather than cooking the 1 kg half leg as a single piece, as you can see in the picture below. I highly recommend not doing what I did because you don't get that really tender melt in your mouth thing happening with the meat if you do.

Also have the Cook4Me out and ready to go.

2. The Browning

Add the olive oil to the bowl of the Cook4Me. Using the manual setting, brown the lamb using the 'browning' function on the Cook4Me for a couple of minutes on each side. You can set the timer on the machine but I just went freestyle and used my noggin to determine when the meat was browned.

Remove meat from cooker and set aside.

3. Sauteing

With the Cook4Me still on 'browning' mode, add pre-prepared onion, garlic, speck, carrot, celery and herbs to the cooker. Saute, stirring occasionally, until onion has softened.

4. The Saucy Bit

Add wine and cook for 1 minute. Add tomato paste, diced tomatoes, 2 cups of chicken stock. Stir to combine.

5. Introduce the Meat to the Sauce

Return meat to the Cook4Me and stir to combine or if using a whole piece of lamb ensure meat is covered with the saucy bits.

6. Speed Cook

Batten down the hatches! Close the lid on Cook4Me following the instructions. It's really super easy compared to our old pressure cooker which is now doomed to be heading for the garbage bin, if it hasn't already been let go of it's old duties thanks to a younger, smarter worker taking its place.

Set the Cook4Me to 'quick cooking' for 20 minutes. The cooker will tingle with a bell sound when it has completed the 20 minutes and steam will shoot out its rear. It is all rather exciting! I just couldn't wait to see what the end result was inside.

If the ragu needs more cooking you just need to shut up the pressure cooker again and set it to cook for a further 10 minutes or whatever you think it requires.

7. Finishing Touches

Shred the lamb with a couple of forks. Remove any fat or bone from the ragu.

Cook whatever pasta you wish to have with your lamb ragu. Chop up fresh parsley and shave up some parmesan.

Yummy lamb ragu with pasta

There you have it! It actually took way longer to prepare all the ingredients than it did to cook the ragu. Writing this post took double the time of all of it (gosh I'm slow!).

Everyone in my family loved this recipe and even fussy eater Noo gave it the tick of approval.

I would highly recommend the Tefal Cook4Me. I'm so glad I won it! Can't wait to get back up the Mountains to try other recipes in it.


PS. I was under no obligation by either Tefal or  Kate Says Stuff to write about my prize. I just felt like it. So there.

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1 comment:

Debbish said...

Good on you for trying some new stuff! I don't have a slow cooker but used my mother's while mother-sitting (after her hip replacement last month) and loved it. Can't afford one at the moment, but down the track... hopefully!

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