Yes, You Can Cook Beef Faster For Weeknight Meals

This meal planning idea will make your beef-loving heart happy.

IMAGE Majoy Siason

Love beef but hate how long it takes to cook? You're not alone. 

There are a few answers to this cooking dilemma. One answer is to purchase a pressure cooker or instant pot so that you only need an hour to tenderize beef cubes into fork-tender meat chunks. A pressure cooker is a fantastic cooking appliance! It cooks via heat and pressure so that whatever you're cooking inside it while it's pressurized is made soft and tender. This includes tough cuts of meat, including beef. Beef cubes only require about 60 minutes to become tender in a pressure cooker. If it's a nilaga, bulalo, or a kaldereta, it's easy enough to dump everything you need to make the broth and sauce, and let it do its thing for the next hour (or less depending on the size of the beef chunks). 

If you don't have a pressure cooker, another answer is the slow cooker. A slow cooker is basically an appliance that slowly cooks your food without any supervision. How can slow be good? Slow is good in this case since you can leave your slow cooker overnight to do all your cooking for you. You can't do that if you're cooking on a stove! 

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This is perfect if you're hungry for beef the next day. All you have to do is put your ingredients in the pot, turn on the cooker, and leave it to cook on its own until the beef is tender. It's practically effortless! Now, overnight cooking may sound like overkill but that's exactly why this electronic piece of kitchen equipment is so useful! It's programmed to cook at a very low heat so as long as instructions on how to use the appliance are followed, you'll have a perfectly cooked beef dish waiting for you when you wake up. 

 

Even if you don't have either of these cooking tools, you can still make use of one more cooking technique and this is one you can do over the weekend: tenderize beef long and slow in a large pot.  

While this method is neither the fastest nor the most effortless way to cook beef to satisfy your beef craving during the week, it is the simplest method that doesn't require any special equipment other than what you already have. All you need a large pot, a stove, and some key ingredients that include beef. 

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Here's what you do: 

Place beef, a little salt, black peppercorns, and enough water to cover the beef at least 1 inch. You can even use a beef bouillon cube or stock seasoning packets if you desire. The key here is to season the beef so it's delicious when you bite into it, but not so much that it overpowers the sauce, broth, or other ingredients you will eventually mix it with. 

Bring this pot to a boil and then let it simmer. Remember to remove any scum that rises to the surface. Top the broth off with more water as needed so it doesn't dry out but while the water simmers and the beef tenderizes, you can sneak in some work while it does all that. 

Once you have your batch of tenderized beef, let it cool down, divide into cooking portions, then you can freeze these chunks in the broth it was cooked in or separately. Don't throw out that broth because that can replace the water in any recipe that needs it. When you do taste that final dish, you will realize what a glorious and flavorful idea it was.

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Now that you're ready with your beef cooking and tenderizing methods, here are recipes you can try using any of these methods: 

Photo by Patrick Martires

1 Beef Kaldereta Recipe 

The ultimate slow-cooked beef stew recipe has to be the kaldereta or caldereta! This is easy to cook but does require long hours of simmering to make those beef chunks tender. What a perfect recipe, especially since you know at least three ways to do that now. Best part is, any leftovers can become some intensely flavorful beef recipes, too. 

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Photo by Patrick Martires | Styling by Rachelle Santos

2 Slow-cooker Beef Shank Stew Recipe 

If you happen to have a slow cooker, you're in luck! We have several recipes you can easily use and each one results in an incredibly tasty dish that you will not worry about having to dinner night after night. This recipe, in particular, uses the beef shank, one of the more flavorful cuts of beef, and you'll see exactly what we mean when you make it. 

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You can even use the slow cooker to make paella and even a chicken-topped rice all-in-one meal! 

Photo by Majoy Siason

3 Beef and Mushroom Nilaga Recipe 

We did say that all three methods require you to dump almost all the ingredients you need to make the beef broth. Take that advice to heart and if you're feeling minimalist, you can totally make a batch of that tenderized beef into this easy nilagang baka recipe. This recipe, however, amps up the delicious factor by using dried mushrooms to boost the umami flavors, making it even more appetizing than your normal nilaga

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Tweak the recipe and you can make sinigang na baka recipe, too. 

There are so many ways to make a beef meal out this idea! What makes it very appealing is that you don't have to do much work during the week to satisfy your beef cravings nor your love for home cooking. This can be the start of your love affair with home-cooked meals every day. 

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