Pressure cooker
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Pressure Cooker Basic Beef Stew

Note: This post has been in the can for over a month; I kept pushing it back for other recipes. The Browns season is over…and they’re having the most Brownian offseason imaginable.

No plan survives contact with the enemy. The plan? A traditional beef stew, simmering all afternoon. The enemy? Me.
1

Browning the beef

Browning the beef

I started watching the Browns game. I got sucked in – we were winning! We look good! – then came the inevitable collapse. Interception, Interception, Fumble…from a ten point lead to down by three…in two minutes.

I couldn’t pull myself away. I kept thinking “I’ll start the stew at the next commercial break.” But I knew I could put it off. I really only needed an hour. My pressure cooker would save my bacon. Or my stew, in this case.

Potatoes and carrots in steamer basket

Potatoes and carrots in steamer basket

Now, this is not a quick recipe – no twenty-minute meal here. It takes time to brown the beef and saute the vegetables, to build depth of flavor into the stew. But the pressure cooker makes short work of the actual cooking time, taking it from three hours down to 35 minutes, including the natural pressure release at the end.
No pressure cooker? No worries. See the notes section for stovetop instructions.

Recipe: Basic Pressure Cooker Beef Stew

Equipment:

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Pressure Cooker Beef Stew


  • Author:
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 8-12
  • Category: Pressure Cooker Stew
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Basic pressure cooker beef stew, with new potatoes and carrots.


Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 5 pounds of beef chuck, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed through a garlic press
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • Leaves from 2 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda (optional, helps brown the meat in the heat of the pressure cooker)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 cup chicken stock (preferably homemade)
  • 15 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 pound carrots, peeled and cut into 3 inch lengths
  • 1 1/2 pounds new potatoes, scrubbed

Instructions

  1. Sear the beef in batches: Season the beef with 1 tablespoon salt. Heat 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil over medium-high heat in the pressure cooker pot until shimmering. Brown the beef in 2 to 3 batches, depending on the size of your pot – don’t crowd the pot, or the beef will steam instead of browning. Sear the beef for 3 minutes per side, or until well browned, then remove to a bowl and sear the next batch. Once all the beef is browned, pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the oil and fat in the cooker.
  2. Saute the aromatics: Add the onion, celery, garlic, tomato paste, and thyme to the pot. Sprinkle with the baking soda and 1 teaspoon salt. Saute for five minutes, or until the onions are softened. Add the red wine to the pot, bring to a simmer, and scrape the bottom of the pot to loosen any browned bits.
  3. Everything into the pot: Stir in the chicken stock, then the beef and any beef juices from the bowl. Pour the tomatoes on top, but don’t stir. Put a steamer basket on top of everything in the pot and put the potatoes and carrots in the steamer basket.
  4. Pressure cook the stew Lock the lid on the pressure cooker, bring the pressure cooker up to high pressure, then cook at high pressure for 20 minutes (25 minutes for an electric pressure cooker). Remove from the heat, allow the pressure to come down naturally for 15 minutes, then quick release any pressure left in the pot.
  5. Serve: Carefully lift the steamer basket of potatoes and carrots out of the pot, cut the potatoes in half, and then stir the carrots and potatoes back into the stew. Taste for seasoning, add more salt and pepper to the stew if necessary, and serve.

Notes

Smaller (6 quart) pressure cooker? Cut back to 3 pounds of beef and 3/4 pound of potatoes, leave all the other ingredients as they are.

 

Notes

  • No pressure cooker? Use a heavy bottomed dutch oven with a lid. Increase the amount of wine to 1 cup, and chicken stock to 2 cups. Follow the instructions right up until “lock the lid”. Then, instead of pressure cooking, bring the pot to a boil, cover, and move the pot to a preheated 350*F oven. Bake for 2 hours, or until the beef is tender.
  • Pressure cooker pots can be narrow. I assume it’s a design choice, that making a lid strong enough to handle high pressure is easier in a narrow pot. If you have a narrow pot, use a large fry pan to help brown the beef – that way, you can brown two batches at once. While the aromatics saute in the pressure cooker pot, add the chicken stock to the fry pan and bring it to a simmer. Scrape the browned bits from the bottom of the fry pan – that’s good flavor, and we don’t want to lose it. Once all the browned bits are loose, turn off the heat, and let the chicken stock sit until the recipe asks for it.
  • Why put the potatoes and carrots on the steamer rack? Floating them above the liquid keeps them from cooking down to mush.

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28 Comments

  1. Milaine says

    I’m a new pressure cooker owner and hope to find more recepies like this one!!

    Trying this tonight!!

    Thank you for sharing 😉

  2. Steven says

    This blog has some of my favorite recipes, thanks for sharing it! Do I really need to brown the beef or can I skip this step? I find some chefs brown the beef but there are others who don’t.

  3. Just had this and it was wonderful. Didn’t have a strainer that fit inside so I just laid them on top. Also I didn’t want to break open a bottle of wine so I used Worcestershire sauce instead.

  4. Is 20 minutes the golden time period to make the beef tender but not dried out? I usually use the meat/stew button (35 minutes) after browning the meat in a pan, and the end result is dry, chewy meat. I want to use less time but I also want to make sure it is cooked through. What is your recommendation on keeping the meat tender in the pressure cooker?

    • There is no golden time – It all depends on how thick the meat is. For inch and a half thick cubes, like in this recipe, 20 to 25 minutes is perfect; when you’re dealing with a huge, thick pot roast, it can take up to 75 minutes.

      • Okay, thanks! I also have noticed that oftentimes my meat will turn out pink or red (such as chicken or pork) even though it has been more than thoroughly cooked. It is kind of worrisome as it makes it hard to tell if the meat is done or not. Do you know why that might occur with pressure cookers?

        • I’ve never seen that – must be one of your ingredients coloring the meat. That said, if you’re pressure cooking, you’re cooking WAY past the point of done – don’t worry about it.

  5. Rafal says

    I’m planning on making this early in afternoon in my instant pot. Once it’s cooked can I leave it on warm till my wife gets home at 6pm? Or will that dry out the beef??

  6. Mela says

    Hi Mike! Im a newbie in cooking and got my first 6 quart instant pot last night. Would like to try this soon. Questions, can I leave out the wine in this recipe? Or is there something non alcoholic I can substitute it with? Thank you so much.

  7. Sqqqrly says

    I love this recipe, but browning the meat in a PC is a pain. It always seems to steam too much making gray meat and no flavor.

    Using two very hot skillets and do four quick batches fixed this. Deglaze skillets with the wine/stock.

    • Cut everything in half, except (maybe) the chicken stock. Your pressure cooker may need the liquid to come up to pressure.

  8. Nicoletta says

    Great recipe! I bought an instant pot and I am having a culinary blast with this device. I only made a couple of changes due to what I had on hand. I buy the little 4 packs of mini red and white wines. They are small 8 oz bottles and come in handy for cooking. I used a whole 8 oz bottle because red wine doesn’t hold well after being opened. Instead of chicken stock, I used beef bone broth because I had just made a batch the night before. And I am not a celery fan, and used fennel instead. But I followed the cooking directions as listed and it was amazing. I’m looking forward to having it for lunch again tomorrow. Thanks for a great recipe. I loved how flexible it is. And brilliant idea on putting the potatoes and carrots in a steamer basket. The stew wasn’t over starchy from potatoes or had a strong carrot flavor. I will be doing this again.

  9. Mike: I am looking for a good recipe for filet in the oven for Christmas. Do you have any? Also I remember you telling me about “reverse searing”. Would this be something that would work with a filet?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Mauri

  10. You’re and awesome cook? I have two questions.

    Why do you use chicken stock instead of beef stock?

    Should I increase the time using an Instant Pot — since it cooks at a lower pressure than your stove top pressure cooker.

    • Why chicken stock? It is easier and cheaper to make in my pressure cooker. If you have beef stock, go right ahead and use it. For the instant Pot, use the 25 minute time I mention in the recipe for electric pressure cookers.

  11. Luisa says

    What kind of steamer basket do you use? I have one of those cheap, metal round ones that collapse in from the sides. I’m trying to imagine balancing it on top of all the other ingredients, but just doesn’t seem right. Or perhaps I can just use the insert that came with the Instant Pot. Any thoughts?

    • Mike Vrobel

      I use the same cheap, round metal one that collapses in from the sides. It will balance fine – just drop it on top of the stew.

  12. My first recipe following the steam test and boiling eggs – I used the first potatoes from the garden and the lucky live-in volunteers wolfed it down. Thanks! ????

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