This Instant Pot Beef Stew is rich, hearty and ready in 45 minutes

Ann Maloney

THE WASHINGTON POST – Do you ever give yourself kitchen challenges? Every now and again I impose a set of parametres on myself to see if I can bring a meal in at a certain cost, with a specified number of ingredients or within an allotted amount of time.

For this column, I strive to find recipes that can be made in 30 minutes – 45 minutes, max. That can be a challenge, especially when it comes to beef stew, a dish I crave when the temperature dips in autumn.

I was eager to dig into tender meat and just-softened vegetables all piled into a bowl with brown gravy and served with a warmed, crusty loaf.

The challenge: Even in a multicooker, just about every recipe I have tried came in at over an hour. Certain fundamental elements contributed to this: The meat must be browned, the vegetables must be chopped, the multicooker takes at least 10 minutes to come up to pressure, and the stew itself must cook under pressure for at least 25 minutes to bring the flavours together.

The only time-saving measure I could find that did not affect the flavor was to turn to convenience foods. I selected precut stew meat, baby new potatoes (bite-size), baby carrots and frozen peas and pearl onions. I also relied on minced garlic and onion rather than fresh for the seasoning. This eliminated chopping altogether. (If you have the time, go ahead and chop fresh vegetables.)

To give the stew’s broth a flavour boost – the richness that usually comes from all that simmering time – I added a bit of tomato paste.

With the Instant Pot, the meat is sauteed just until brown and then the rest of the ingredients are dumped into the cooker and pressure-cooked together.

This resulted in a satisfying stew that scratched my itch for a belly-warming dinner.

Even with this method, the stew took about five minutes longer than I would have liked, but with an active cooking time of only 15 to 20 minutes, I hope you will let that slide.

INSTANT POT BEEF STEW

Active time: 15 minutes

Total time: 45 minutes

Four to six servings

An Instant Pot can deliver a rich beef stew that tastes like it has been simmering for hours, but even with the convenience of a multicooker, the dish takes awhile to cook. To get this meal on the table fast, turn to convenience products such as precut stew meat, dried minced onions, baby carrots, bite-size baby new potatoes and frozen peas and pearl onions.

Serve with a salad and warmed bread.

Storage Notes: The stew can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to three days.

INGREDIENTS

Two tablespoons all-purpose flour

One teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

One teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste

One teaspoon dried thyme

One teaspoon sweet paprika

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Two pounds beef chuck roast, cut into 1-inch pieces

One tablespoon vegetable oil

1/2 cup no-salt beef stock or broth, plus more as needed

Two tablespoons tomato paste

One pound baby new potatoes, quartered if larger than bite-size

Eight ounces baby carrots

Eight ounces frozen peas-and-pearl onions medley, not defrosted

One tablespoon dried minced garlic

One tablespoon dried minced onion

One tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (optional)

DIRECTIONS

In a small bowl, combine the flour, salt, pepper, thyme, paprika and pepper flakes. Place the beef in a large bowl, sprinkle the seasoning mixture over it and toss until the meat is coated.

Set a programmable multicooker (such as an Instant Pot) to SAUTE.

Let the pot heat for two minutes, then add the oil and meat to the pot.

Cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is browned on all sides, about five minutes total, and transfer the meat to a plate.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the stock and tomato paste. Pour the liquid into the empty Instant Pot and scrape any browned bits from the bottom.

Return the beef, and any accumulated juices on the plate, to the pot and add the potatoes, carrots, peas and pearl onions, as well as the dried garlic and dried onion. Stir to combine.

Make sure the steam valve is sealed. Select PRESSURE (HIGH) and set to 25 minutes.

Release the pressure manually by moving the pressure-release handle to “Venting”, covering your hand with a towel and making sure to keep your hand and face away from the vent when the steam releases.

Stir in the parsley, if using. Taste and season with more with salt and pepper, if needed. If stew is too dry, add an additional splash of beef stock.

Nutrition (based on 6) | Calories: 553; Total Fat: 32g; Saturated Fat: 12g; Cholesterol: 107mg; Sodium: 359mg; Carbohydrates: 26g; Dietary Fiber: 5g; Sugar: 3g; Protein: 30g.