Beef Stew with Red Wine in the Instant Pot


Been doing a lot of comfort food cooking these days.  Partly because of the weather, partly because of my general ennui, and partly because the food just tastes good.  I had a hankering for a good beef stew to be served over boiled potatoes.  I had some at a pub in Philly recently but it was terrible. Gluey gloppy gravy that tasted of stale rosemary and rancid herbs.  Nary a piece of beef to be found in the bowl.  The cook must have used canned boiled potatoes in the stew too because they had an off, almost tin-can like taste.  When you know you can make it better then you need to make it better.

The cut of meat to use for this matters - but it doesn't need to be expensive. A tough cut of meat should break down from cooking under pressure or under a long slow cook in liquid.  I found a nice chuck roast from one of the Farmers' Market vendors, and instead of keeping it whole, I cut it into chunks, trimming away some of the excess fat and the membranes/silver skin. 

This recipe calls for lots of root veggies - in abundance in the market right now; carrots, celery, onions, and parsnips.  Savoie Organic Farms had fantastically sweet Lilly German Butter Potatoes last week. I bought a 5 pound bag and boiled up a dozen or so little golden orbs to serve under my stew.  For added vegetables, I tossed in a bag of frozen mixed veg just to amp up the veggie quota.  A little less chopping and a lot more flavor at the end of my cooking time.

This recipe is easy and can be made in the Instant Pot.  I seared the meat in batches; I saute the veggies next and then deglazed the pot with a combination of red wine, Worcestershire sauce and water.  Added everything back to the pot - meat, veggies, seasonings and tomato sauce and let it cook for 50 minutes, and let the pressure come down for 30 minutes more.  The gravy made barely needed to be thickened. 

This is a good set it and forget it kind of meal that tastes good when first made and gets better as it sits.  To make this in a slow cooker, saute all the meat and the vegetables first in a large pot (just as the recipe below indicates) then add it all to a slow cooker and set it either on high for 4 hours or low setting for up to 8 hours.  Sauteing the meat and veg helps build up flavor which is what you want from either cooking technique.  Either cooking method will have the same outcome, tender meat and a flavorful gravy.  The benefit of a pressure cooker is that the stew will be done in about 2 hours.

Beef Stew with Red Wine Ingredients:
  • 2 Pounds Chuck Roast or Stew Meat - cut into large 1 1/2 to 2 inch chunks
  • 1 Cup All Purpose Flour
  • 1 Tablespoon Dried Thyme
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Freshly Cracked Black Pepper
  • 3 Tablespoons Olive or Vegetable Oil - divided
  • 2 Medium Onions - cut into large chunks
  • 3 Medium Carrots - cut into large chunks
  • 3 Medium Celery Stalks - cut into large chunks
  • 2 Small/Medium Parsnips - cut into large chunks
  • 4 Large Garlic Cloves - peeled, keep whole
  • 1 Cup Dry Red Wine (Merlot/Cabernet/Shiraz, whatever you like to drink)
  • 1/4 Cup Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 Large Can (28-32 ounces) Tomato Puree or Low/No Salt Tomato Sauce
  • 2 - 3 Cups Water
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1 Bag Frozen Mixed Vegetables (about 16 ounces)
Directions:
  1. Wash, peel, and cut the vegetables into large chunks, set aside.
  2. Cut the stew or chuck roast meat into large chunks - about 1 1/2 inches to 2 inches big.  Trim off any excess fat and membranes from the meat.  Set aside.
  3. Put the flour onto a large plate or in a large bowl and season with the dried thyme, salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
  4. Turn the instant pot onto saute and add in 2 tablespoons of olive or vegetable oil.  While the oil is heating up, work in small batches and dredge the meat in the seasoned flour, then add the chunks of meat to the pot once the oil starts to shimmer and is hot. Brown the meat on all sides and remove from the pot and set onto a clean dish.  Continue working in batches, dredging the meat, searing it and removing it from the pot.  Once all the meat is browned, set it aside and reserve the remaining seasoned flour.
  5. Next, add in the remaining tablespoon of oil and then add in all the cut vegetables and saute for 20 minutes until the vegetables are tender and beginning to caramelize.  You want to build up some additional flavors.
  6. Add in the red wine, Worcestershire sauce and scrape up any browned bits that may be remaining on the bottom of the Instant Pot.  Add the meat and accumulated juices, and the bay leaf to the pot and stir to combine.
  7. Add in the can of tomato puree and enough water (about a can's worth of water or more) to cover the stew.  I used the tomato puree can, filled it with water and brought the liquid in my Instant Pot up to the 6 quart marker.
  8. Put the lid on the pot, seal it and set it for 50 minutes manually or set it to Stew/Meat.  The pressure will take some time to come up and then the timer will count down to 50 minutes once the pressure has been met.  Allow the pressure to come down naturally for 30 minutes once the timer goes off.
  9. Release the steam valve and open the lid.  Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more salt and pepper as needed.  Add in the bag of frozen mixed vegetables, stir to combine and heat through.  If the stew is too thin or watery, make a slurry with the reserved dredging flour - 1 tablespoon of seasoned flour to 1/4 cup of cold water.  Add it to the stew, stirring to combine.  Stew can be held on warm mode until ready to serve.  Serve over mashed potatoes or boiled New, Fingerling, or German Butter potatoes. Makes about 6 quarts of stew.  Will keep for up to 5 days refrigerated or it can be portioned and frozen in small batches for up to 3 months.

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