I don’t know in how many parts of the world people eat beef kneecap but, in the Philippines, it is quite a delicacy. And when I say kneecap, I don’t really mean the bony cap itself (although that’s part of the whole enchilada) but the meat, the tendons and the fat surrounding it.
Cooked by itself, it is already so delicious as the tendons soften and turn gelatinous during slow simmering and the fat melts and imparts its flavor and moistness to the meat. For this dish, however, I decided to go a step farther. Inspired by the Filipino version of the Spanish pochero, I braised the beef kneecap in crushed tomatoes with spicy and garlicky sausages — Vigan longganisa, to be more precise. I will leave it to you and your imagination to do its work.
This is a pressure cooker recipe, you can use any thick-bottomed pot and cook the dish the regular way but, of course, the cooking time will be about twice as long.
- 1 whole beef kneecap
- 2 to 4 c. of crushed tomatoes (I used canned), depending on the weight of the kneecap
- 6 to 10 spicy and garlicky sausages, or 250 g. to 500 g.
- about 6 cloves of garlic
- 2 whole red onions
- lots of ground black pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 to 8 potatoes, diced
- a head of white cabbage, quartered
- Place the kneecap in the pressure cooker.
- Add sausages, onions, garlic and bay leaves.
- Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.
- Pour in the crushed tomatoes plus about half a cup of water.
- Seal the pressure cooker and start cooking over high heat. When the valve starts to turn, lower the heat to the lowest setting and count one hour.
- Turn off the heat and allow the pressure to dissipate for about ten minutes. Remove the lid of the pressure cooker.
- Add the vegetables to the meat.
- Seal the pressure cooker once more. Set over high heat. When the valve starts to turn, lower the heat and cook for another fifteen minutes.
- Turn off the heat, let the pressure die down for ten minutes and remove the cooker’s lid.
- Scoop out the kneecap and set on a platter. Arrange the sausages and vegetables around it. Spoon the little sauce over and around everything.
- Sprinkle with torn greens (parsley or cilantro) and serve hot with rice.