Instant Pot Pressure Cooker · Main Dish · One-Pot Meals

Beef Stew (Instant Pot)

Beef Stew (Instant Pot)

Once a decade. That’s what I used to tell my kids when they suggested I might be wrong. I mean, Rule Number One is Mom’s always right, and Rule Number Two is if you think Mom might be wrong, see Rule Number One, right? But I’m also sciencey. (Is that actually a word? If it’s not, it should be!) And we sciencey folk are always willing to look at the facts and come to the appropriate conclusion. The pertinent fact here: This may have been the best batch of stew I’ve ever made! A bit humbling, since I’ve been making stew since before Google, Amazon, or Youtube. I guess you can teach an old dog new tricks!

I developed my beef stew recipe for the slow cooker and thought it was pretty near perfect. I said I wasn’t interested in making it a different way or trying to make it healthier because I really liked it the way it was. A large part of the unhealthy aspect of my old recipe, (well, besides the beef) is the kneaded butter used to thicken the gravy. It’s decadently delicious and does a great job. But then I read this article on Serious Eats, which says that pressure cooker stew isn’t just faster, it’s actually better than slow cooker stew. What if I could make it both better and healthier? Now, THAT I’m interested in. It was a large part of why I wound up buying an Instant Pot

The whole “saving time” thing with pressure cookers does come with a caveat: You save cooking time, not prep time. Plus you have to add in the time it takes the cooker to reach pressure. So Instant Pot vs. Crockpot beef stew really just means you can start in the late afternoon rather than the morning. Since there’s a lot of hands-on prep for beef stew no matter how you cook it, I don’t think I’d attempt this after a long day at work. 

The result of my first try at pressure cooker beef stew was disappointing. It was an adaptation of my  Slow Cooker Beef Stew recipe but merely eliminated the kneaded butter step. The vegetables were a disaster. I put them in at the same time as the beef, as I do with my slow cooker stew. By the time the meat was done, the vegetables were complete mush. 

For my next try, I decided to try the Serious Eats recipe. After all, that was where I read how delicious pressure cooker beef stew can be. It was, in fact, excellent and came out exactly how they said it would. But it turns out they have a very different vision than I do about what beef stew should be. I didn’t care for the strong tomato flavor, which reminded me of canned soup. It was also more watery than I like. Back to the drawing board. Beef stew was one of the main reasons I bought the darned Instant Pot, after all, and I wasn’t going to quit before figuring it out!

I went back to my original recipe, armed with a little more experience with the Instant Pot. I borrowed Serious Eats’s idea of using chuck roast “steaks” cut up after sautéing, and I added the vegetables partway through the meat’s cook time. I also tweaked a few other things. Now that the recipe better reflects my own idea of what stew should taste like, I actually like it a lot better than my slow cooker version! The only thing I’ll miss about the slow cooker is that itis good to have most of the hands-on steps done early in the day when I have more energy. But now that I know how much better the pressure cooker version is, I don’t think I’ll ever want to go back!

You’ll find a printer-friendly version of the recipe at the bottom of this page.

Ingredients:

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2½ lb. beef chuck roast

½ tsp salt

½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 Tbsp olive oil

cheesecloth

1 large bay leaf

3 Tbsp peppercorns

1 large sprig fresh rosemary

Several small sprigs fresh thyme

1 small yellow onion

3 cloves garlic

1 cup water

1 large white onion

4 large carrots

4 large stalks celery

1 lb baby red potatoes

2 Tbsp arrowroot starch

2 Tbsp Penzeys Beef Soup Base 

2 tsp reduced sodium Worcestershire sauce

1 cup frozen baby peas

Preparation:

1.) Slice the roast into two or three equal-width steaks. Trim off as much of the fat as you can. Sprinkle the salt and pepper evenly over both sides.

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2.) With the lid off the Instant Pot, press the “Sauté” button. Press “Adjust” if you need to until the “normal” indicator is lit.  Wait for the display to read “hot,” then swirl 1 tablespoon of the olive oil around to coat the bottom.

3.) When the oil is hot, add the first of the beef pieces. Brown both sides, then remove to a plate or bowl. Repeat with the rest of the meat. 

4.) While the meat is browning, assemble the herb sachet. Using one or two layers of cheesecloth depending on how tight the weave is, cut a six- to eight-inch square. Laying it flat, pile the bay leaf, peppercorns, rosemary, and thyme in the center. Gather the edges up to make a little pouch and tie it off with butchers’ twine. Trim any excess cloth or twine; set aside. Dice the small yellow onion and mince the garlic.  Measure the arrowroot starch into a small prep bowl; set aside. Have your cup of water at the ready.

5.) When all of the meat is done browning, add the diced onion and the minced garlic. Stirring frequently to prevent scorching, sauté until the onions become somewhat translucent and browned, and the garlic is fragrant. Immediately pour in the water, scraping the bottom of the pot to loosen all those gorgeous browned bits. Press “Keep Warm/Cancel” to end the Sauté function.

6.) Add the herb sachet, and cover the pot with the steam valve open. Cut the beef into large stew-size pieces, trimming off any fat you missed the first time around. Return the beef and any accumulated juices to the pot. Cover again, this time locking the lid and closing the steam valve. Set the pot with the “Meat/Stew” and “+/-” buttons for 30 minutes at high pressure. It will take anywhere from ten to twenty minutes to reach pressure, at which time the display will begin counting down from 30.

7.) While the meat cooks, chop the white onion, carrots, celery, and potatoes into large chunks. Bring the peas out of the freezer to thaw if you haven’t already done so.

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8.) As soon as the stew cycle finishes, do a quick release of the pressure. Stir in the chopped vegetables (but not the peas). Using the “Manual” and “+/-” buttons, set the pot for 3 minutes.

9.) When the three minutes are up, perform a quick release again. Using a slotted spoon or strainer, scoop all the solids out and place them in a large serving bowl. Turn the machine to “Sauté” again.

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10.) Whisk in the beef soup base. Once it’s fully dissolved, whisk in the Worcestershire sauce. Whisking constantly, sprinkle in the arrowroot. Continue to cook, whisking constantly, until all the arrowroot is dissolved and the sauce reaches the desired consistency. Stir in the peas; the residual heat is all they need. Pour the pot contents into the serving bowl with the beef and stir gently to combine. Serve hot with fresh Portuguese Bread.

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Beef Stew (Instant Pot)


Ingredients


2½ lb. beef chuck roast
½ tsp salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp olive oil
cheesecloth
1 large bay leaf
3 Tbsp peppercorns
1 large sprig fresh rosemary
Several small sprigs fresh thyme
1 small yellow onion
3 cloves garlic
1 cup water
1 large white onion
4 large carrots
4 large stalks celery
1 lb baby red potatoes
2 Tbsp arrowroot starch
2 Tbsp Penzeys Beef Soup Base
2 tsp reduced sodium Worcestershire sauce
1 cup frozen baby peas

Directions


1.) Slice the roast into two or three equal-width steaks. Trim off as much of the fat as you can. Sprinkle the salt and pepper evenly over both sides.
2.) With the lid off the Instant Pot, press the “Sauté” button. Press “Adjust” if you need to until the “normal” indicator is lit. Wait for the display to read “hot,” then swirl 1 tablespoon of the olive oil around to coat the bottom.
3.) When the oil is hot, add the first of the beef pieces. Brown both sides, then remove to a plate or bowl. Repeat with the rest of the meat.
4.) While the meat is browning, assemble the herb sachet. Using one or two layers of cheesecloth depending on how tight the weave is, cut a six- to eight-inch square. Laying it flat, pile the bay leaf, peppercorns, rosemary, & thyme in the center. Gather the edges up to make a little pouch and tie it off with butchers’ twine. Trim any excess cloth or twine; set aside. Dice the small yellow onion and mince the garlic.  Measure the arrowroot starch into a small prep bowl; set aside. Have your cup of water at the ready.
5.) When all the meat is done browning, add the diced onion and the minced garlic. Stirring frequently to prevent scorching, sauté until the onions become somewhat translucent and browned, and the garlic is fragrant. Immediately pour in the water, scraping the bottom of the pot to loosen all those gorgeous browned bits. Press “Keep Warm/Cancel” to end the Sauté function.
6.) Add the herb sachet, and cover the pot with the steam valve open. Cut the beef into large stew-size pieces, trimming off any fat you missed the first time around. Return the beef and any accumulated juices to the pot. Cover again, this time locking the lid and closing the steam valve. Set the pot with the “Meat/Stew” and “+/-” buttons for 30 minutes at high pressure. It will take anywhere from ten to twenty minutes to reach pressure, at which time the display will begin counting down from 30.
7.) While the meat cooks, chop the white onion, carrots, celery, and potatoes into large chunks. Bring the peas out of the freezer to thaw if you haven’t already done so.
8.) As soon as the stew cycle finishes, do a quick release of the pressure. Stir in the chopped vegetables (but not the peas). Using the “Manual” and “+/-” buttons, set the pot for 3 minutes.
9.) When the three minutes are up, perform a quick release again. Using a slotted spoon or strainer, scoop all the solids out and place them in a large serving bowl. Turn the machine to “Sauté” again.
10.) Whisk in the beef soup base. Once it’s fully dissolved, whisk in the Worcestershire sauce. Whisking constantly, sprinkle in the arrowroot. Continue to cook, whisking constantly, until all the arrowroot is dissolved and the sauce reaches the desired consistency. Stir in the peas; the residual heat is all they need. Pour the pot contents into the serving bowl with the beef and stir gently to combine. Serve hot with fresh bread.

4 thoughts on “Beef Stew (Instant Pot)

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