Beef Shanks with Tomatoes, Squash, and Zucchini (Serves 2-3)
Beef shanks are tough unless you cook them at a low heat for several hours in liquid or unless you cook them for about 20 minutes in a pressure cooker. I choose the pressure cooker every time. Here is the story of how I got beef shanks on the table with a tasty serving of tomatoes, onion, mushrooms, squash, and zucchini in just 35 minutes from start to finish.
Prep and cook time: 35 minutes
2 bone-in beef shanks
2 14.5 ounce cans of diced tomatoes (I enjoy Muir Glenn Fire Roasted Tomatoes with Chipotle Peppers)
1 sweet yellow onion
8 ounces of mushrooms
2-3 yellow squash
Extra virgin olive oil
Directions: Add 1 or 2 tablespoons of olive oil to pressure cooker over medium heat. Season all sides of beef shanks with salt, garlic powder, and black pepper to taste. Arrange shanks in pot and brown first side 4 minutes. Turn shanks and brown second side 4 minutes. Remove from pot to a plate. Chop onion into bite-sized pieces. Add to pot and cook several minutes until soft, scraping up brown bits from the bottom of the pot. Return shanks to pressure cooker. Add diced tomatoes on top and 1/4 cup of water. Lock top on pressure cooker. Increase heat to high. After achieving high pressure, reduce heat to the lowest level consistent with maintaining high pressure. Cook under high pressure for 20 minutes. Turn off heat, bring pressure down quickly with the fast-release method, and remove top. Chop mushrooms, squash, and zucchini into bite-sized pieces. Add to pressure cooker with salt, garlic powder, and black pepper to taste. I like a nice dusting of each. Lock top on pressure cooker. Increase heat to high. After achieving high pressure, reduce heat to the lowest level consistent with maintaining high pressure. Cook under high pressure for 3-5 minutes. Turn off heat, allow pressure to come down naturally, and remove top. Use a slotted spoon or ladle to transfer beef shanks and vegetables to plates. Enjoy!
Notes: Squash and zucchini are tender and cook very fast in the pressure cooker. Five minutes under high pressure is enough to make them very soft, so you might want to stop cooking in just 3 minutes.
This meal is likely to produce leftovers of vegetables. Add chicken sausage to the leftovers to make another tasty meal.
I love my Kuhn Rikon Duromatic Top Pressure Cooker 7.4-Quart that I ordered from Amazon.com. After reading a bunch of pressure cooker reviews, I decided to spend a little extra to get the one the New York Times described as the Mercedes-Benz of pressure cookers. I’m glad I did. Kuhn Rikon is a Swiss company. Pressure cookers are so popular in Switzerland that the average household has three! I have not purchased a second one yet, but could use one to prepare vegetables separately while longer cooking meat dishes are in their final minutes.
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