This Instant Pot Jamaican Beef Stew is inspired by Pots and Pans Jamaican restaurant in Akron, Ohio. That’s right, Jamaican cooking right here in Ohio. Back in the day, I would have to travel a long way - maybe all the way to Kingstown - to get a taste of real Jamaican cuisine; now all I have to do is go downtown. [Update: Closed. Darn!]
Of course, after a meal of curry goat and jerk pork, I had to try it at home. It’s a beef stew flavored with This recipe is best described as “Jamaican by way of Northeastern Ohio”. I am using Jamaican flavors, but don’t show it to your Jamaican Granny and tell her it’s authentic, OK?
This is a pretty standard Instant Pot beef stew, and I build the Jamaican flavor profile with three key ingredients: allspice, Pickapeppa sauce, and…Scotch Bonnet peppers.
Scotch Bonnet peppers are no joke. With most peppers, I’m chill about handling them. Jalapenos? Serranos? No big deal. I put on gloves before handling Scotch Bonnet peppers, and I make sure to wash my hands even after taking the gloves off. Don’t absentmindedly rub your eye after handling these peppers, unless you want an at-home pepper spray experience.
Why do I include Scotch Bonnet peppers in recipes, when I have to treat them like biohazards? Because that brutal heat, used in small doses, isn’t overwhelming. Scotch Bonnet peppers have a unique flavor - frutity, floral - hiding under the heat. I know they’re going to kill me - but I can’t help myself. I keep coming back for more.
Recipe: Instant Pot Jamaican Beef Stew
Inspired by: Jamaican Beef Stew With Rice Recipe | Serious Eats
Instant Pot Jamaican Beef Stew. A taste of the islands from my Instant Pot.
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 3 pounds beef bottom round roast, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1 large onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Scotch Bonnet chile pepper (or habanero pepper), seeded and minced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon ground allspice
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 tablespoon Pickapeppa sauce
- 2 cups homemade beef or chicken broth (or low-sodium store-bought broth)
- 3 large carrots peeled and cut into 1-inch lengths (or ½ pound baby carrots)
- 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt (if using homemade broth)
- ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
Cornstarch slurry (optional)
- ¼ cup water
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- Hot pepper sauce (preferably Jamaican or Habanero based)
- Minced Green Onions
- White rice
- Sear the beef in three batches: Heat the vegetable oil in the pressure cooker pot over medium heat (sauté mode in my Instant Pot) until the oil shimmers and just starts to smoke. While the pot heats, sprinkle the beef cubes with 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon black pepper. Sear the beef in three batches; sear each batch until well browned on one side, about 3 minutes, and then transfer the seared beef to a bowl. (I sear in batches so we don’t crowd the pot - crowded beef doesn’t brown, it steams. And, I sear on one side to get the complex browning flavors, without spending all day searing the beef.)
- Saute the aromatics: After all the beef is seared, add the onion, garlic, scotch bonnet pepper, and tomato paste to the pot, and sprinkle with the allspice and ½ teaspoon salt. Sauté until the onions soften and the tomato paste darkens, about 5 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pot occasionally to loosen any browned bits of beef. Stir in the beef and any juices in the bowl, stir in the Pickappepa sauce, and then pour in the beef broth. Scrape the bottom of the pot one last time to make sure nothing is sticking. Stir in the carrots, then spread the diced tomatoes on top.
- Pressure cook for 15 minutes with a natural release: Lock the lid on the pressure cooker and cook at high pressure for 15 minutes in an electric PC, 12 minutes in a stovetop PC. When the cooking time finishes, let the pressure come down naturally, about 25 more minutes. (After 20 minutes you can quick release any remaining pressure if you are in a hurry.)
- Season, thicken, and serve: Unlock the pressure cooker lid. Stir in the teaspoon of fine sea salt (if not using store-bought broth, which is plenty salty), and the ½ teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper. Whisk the water and cornstarch into a slurry, and then stir the cornstarch slurry into the stew. Serve with the accompaniments and enjoy!
Beef shoulder, beef chuck, and beef bottom round all work well in this recipe, and are interchangeable. The size of the cubes (1-inch) are more important to the cooking time than the specific cut of beef.
Scotch Bonnet and Habanero peppers are very close cousins; sub in Habanero if you can’t find Scotch Bonnet. And, again, be careful when handling them - they are brutally hot.
Scared of the Scotch Bonnet heat, but still want a little of the flavor? Instead of mincing the pepper, toss a whole pepper in the pot when you add the broth. Fish it out and discard it when the cooking is done. It gives you a hint of the flavor, and cuts back on the heat even more.
Thin sauce is the downside to pressure cooking. The sealed cooking environment traps steam to build up pressure – steam that evaporates in a regular pot, thickening the sauce. The cornstarch slurry thickens the sauce, giving it the mouthfeel of a regular stew.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 50 minutes
- Category: Sunday Dinner
- Method: Pressure Cooker
- Cuisine: Jamaican
Keywords: Instant Pot Jamaican Beef Stew, Pressure Cooker Jamaican Beef Stew
What do you think?
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