Winter doldrums sapping your cooking mojo? Get your groove back with this simple, hearty, and Whole30-friendly stew. If you’ve got an Instant Pot (or any other pressure cooker), this comforting beef stew can be ready in about an hour, and you only have to futz with it for about 15 minutes at the start. Plus, there’s nothing weird in it—unless you think of fish sauce as “weird,” and you shouldn’t. If you’re gonna cook along with me, fish sauce is something you should always have stocked in your pantry.
Use this recipe as a foundational beef stew. You can throw it together with pantry basics and tough ’n cheap beef cuts like chuck roast, boneless short ribs, and brisket. This dish tastes even better the next day, so if you like to plan ahead, make it up to four days in advance and keep it in your fridge. You can freeze it for later, too. When you’re ready to reheat it, you can add extra vegetables to make it a complete meal.
Ready to pressure-cook your way to a pot of happiness?
- 3 pounds beef chuck roast, boneless short ribs, or beef brisket cut into 1½- to 2-inch cubes
- Kosher salt (Diamond Crystal brand)
- 1 tablespoon ghee, avocado oil, or fat of choice
- 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
- 1 pound cremini mushrooms, cleaned, stemmed, and quartered
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 6 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
- 2 tablespoons coconut aminos (or gluten-free tamari if you tolerate fermented soy)
- 1 teaspoon Red Boat Fish Sauce
- 2 fresh thyme sprigs (or 1 teaspoon dried thyme)
- 1 dried bay leaf
- freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ cup Italian parsley, roughly chopped
- 3 large carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 pound Yukon Gold or Russet potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
- Instant Pot or stovetop pressure cooker
- Large mixing bowl
- Cutting board
- Chef’s knife
- Measuring spoons
- Measuring cups
- Silicone spatula
In a large bowl, toss the cubed beef with 1½ teaspoons of kosher salt.
Press the “Sauté” button on your Instant Pot and when the metal insert is hot, add your preferred cooking fat. Once the fat’s melted, add the onions and mushrooms and a ½ teaspoon kosher salt.
Sauté until the onions are softened, about 5 minutes.
(If you’re using a stovetop pressure cooker, melt the fat over medium heat and sauté the onions and mushrooms.)
Stir in the tomato paste and garlic, and cook for 30 seconds or until fragrant.
Toss in the salted beef, coconut aminos…
…thyme, and bay leaf.
Give everything a good stir to combine all the ingredients. (No, you don’t need to add any extra liquid to the Instant Pot ’cause the onions and beef will release plenty of liquid! However, if you’re using an older stovetop pressure cooker, you may need to add ½ cup of broth or water.)
Press the “Keep Warm/Cancel” button on the Instant Pot and cover and lock the lid. Next, press the “Meat/Stew” button to switch to the pressure cooking mode. If your beef cubes are smaller than mine, you can press the “minus” button to decrease the cooking time from the preset 35 minutes (high pressure). Once the pot is programmed, walk away.
(If you’re using a stovetop pressure cooker, you won’t have all those buttons to press. Just cook on high heat until high pressure is reached. Then, reduce the heat to low to maintain high pressure for about 30 minutes.)
When the stew is finished cooking, the Instant Pot will switch automatically to a “Keep Warm” mode. If you’re using a stovetop pressure cooker instead, remove the pot from the heat. In either case, let the pressure release naturally (about 15 minutes). If the pressure hasn’t released completely after 15 minutes and you’re impatient, you can manually release the pressure by turning the valve at the top to venting.
Fish out the thyme and bay leaf…
..and check that the meat is fork tender. If not, cook for another 10 minutes under high pressure.
Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
If you’re eating the stew right away, you can skim the fat off the top of the stew. Braising cuts like chuck roast and short ribs are fattier, but that’s why they taste so good!
Ladle out the stew…
…and adorn with some chopped Italian parsley.
I love to make this stew ahead of time and store it in the fridge or freezer to reheat later. The stew will keep in the fridge for up to 4 days and in the freezer for up to 4 months. It’s like a gift to your future, busy self!
Wish there were some root veggies in your beef stew? You can certainly plop them in at the start of this recipe, but they’ll melt into the stew. If that floats your boat, go ahead and do it. Personally, I like to add root vegetables after the stew is cooked or when I reheat the stew in the pressure cooker.
Here’s how I do it:
Before I reheat the stew, I scoop off the hardened fat layer on top…
…and dump the stew in my Instant Pot or stovetop pressure cooker.
I like to toss in diced carrots and cubed potatoes…
…and stir ’em in.
Then, I pressure-cook everything for 5 minutes under high pressure.
I manually release the pressure right away, stir, and adjust for seasoning.
Shazam! Dinner’s ready in a flash.
Break out your pressure cooker, folks. You’ll be happy you did!
(Psst! Bookmark this post because it’s my ever-growing list of Instant Pot/pressure cooker recipes!)
Looking for more recipes? Head on over to my Recipe Index! You’ll also find exclusive recipes on my Webby Award-Winning iPhone® and iPad® app, and in my New York Times-bestselling cookbook, Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans (Andrews McMeel 2013).