Beef Stew - Instant Pot

I found this incredible recipe on Pinch of Yum - it's absolutely pure comfort food, written by someone who knows her comfort food. I've added a couple of my own touches including dredging and browning the beef, herbes de provence, and adding some browned potatoes to the mix.

Ingredients

  • Pictures can't do this stew justice!
    2 lbs beef, chuck roast, fat trimmed, cut into 1-2-inch chunks
  • 1/2 cup flour and salt & pepper in a plastic or paper bag for dredging
  • 1 medium onion, sliced thinly
  • 4 stalks celery, sliced diagonally in thick pieces
  • 6 carrots, sliced diagonally in thick pieces, or use "baby" carrots
  • 2 tablespoons small tapioca – see notes
  • 1/2 cup tomato juice
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon herbes de Provence
  • 1 lb small potatoes cut into large chunks
  • 1/8 lb butter and some vegetable oil
  • 1 Tablespoon dried parsley

What To Do With Them

  1. Dredge the cut roast in flour and salt and pepper. In two batches brown each side of the beef, then remove to Instant Pot
  2. Place everything (EXCEPT THE POTATOES/BUTTER/OIL/PARSLEY) in the Instant Pot. Select the stew/meat setting (about 35 minutes, high pressure). After it’s done, let everything mellow out for about 10 minutes before releasing the steam. Technically at this point, it’s done. But you should finish with a quick browning session in the oven (see notes below).
  3. Remove the stew from the Intant Pot and insert steamer, then pile the chunked potatoes in and add 1/3 cup of water to bottom of pot. Set the Instant Pot to cook on the Pressure Cooker setting for three minutes. When the pot is done, allow 10 minutes to sit, then vent pressure. While waiting, heat a large saute pan on the stove and just before adding potatoes, add oil and butter, heat so that it sizzles. Let the potatoes sit until browned on one side, about 3 to 5 minutes. Turn them over and allow to brown again for 3 or 4 minutes. Just before removing the potatoes, sprinkle them with the dried parsley. Remove potatoes to stew, or keep them to serve on the side - browned potatoes are awesome on the side, but also just as good in the stew.
  4. Traditional Oven Instructions: Preheat oven to 320 degrees. Place all ingredients in a baking dish – it can be glass or ceramic (we use a round casserole dish – something between 8×8 and 9×13). Cover with foil and bake for 3-4 hours. If the gravy dries out, you can add a little water to the gravy to loosen it up before serving. See notes below for additional modifications/instructions.
  5. Finishing in the Oven: Whether you make this in the oven or in the Instant Pot, finish by giving it about 10-20 minutes in a hot oven (400-ish degrees), uncovered, before serving. It gets the meat nice and caramelized on top and helps the gravy thicken up.

Notes

Alternatives to Tapioca Pearls for thickening:

  • Just leave them out. Your gravy may be a little less thick, but it will still be delicious.
  • Toss the beef in 1/3 cup flour, shake off excess and add to the Instant Pot as normal. If you do this and you have a newer Instant Pot, you will likely need additional liquid (I’ll often do a second can of tomato juice) to avoid the burn warning on the Instant Pot.
  • Make a slurry of 2 tablespoons corn starch and 1/4 cup water. Add the slurry to everything in the Instant Pot after it’s cooked.

As written, this is more like a traditional saucy beef stew. If you want it to be more like a soup, just add a second can of tomato juice and an extra pinch of salt and sugar.

The biggest challenge people have when baking this in the oven is that the sauce/gravy dries out. I would suggest adding a little bit of water (1/4 cup or so) before baking, and then periodically throughout baking as needed. The browned gravy will be really delicious, and a little water mixed in will easily bring it back to life.

Another issue is that the tapioca can sometimes still be visible in very small specks, which is okay. It’s so small and it should be extremely soft after cooking in the Instant Pot, so it’s never interfered with my love of this beef stew. It just looks like part of the gravy. But if that bothers you, just try one of our other tapioca-less methods listed above.