Accidental Beef Stew

Sometimes the best things out of the kitchen are unplanned. Just made the best beef stew I have ever tasted. It also got an “Ohhh wow, this is amazeballs!” (paraphrased) from the 3 other mouths it fed. And it was an “accident.” Oh jeez, start writing down now what I remember doing so I can do it again!

Here’s what happened: A neighbor/friend came over for Sunday morning coffee. Well, more like noon-thirty coffee. Anyway, she said she bought fixins to make a beef stew to put in her crockpot to cook the night before but didn’t do it and now it’s too late. Sigh.

“No, it isn’t,” said I, pointing to the Instant Pot.

Soon after she and another neighbor came over to deliver armloads of food things:

  • Pkg of stew meat
  • bag of potatoes
  • onion
  • pkg of carrots
  • pkg of frozen corn
  • pkg of frozen green beans
  • can of whole tomatoes
  • can of diced tomatoes

Then left with a happy “Let us know when it’s ready!”

Well, okay. What the heck. It’s a Texans Bye week so no football and what else do I have to do besides peel and chop and fix an unplanned Sunday dinner for 4? Rhetorical question. I’m committed now it seems. (**That’s how I got 2 cats, too.)

I added a few more ingredients I had about and for some reason got kinda weird with the seasonings (yes, wine was involved, but not in the stew) using herbs and spices I don’t ordinarily put into stew. Cuz why not? I’d also never added frozen corn to stew before. No reason, just never thought of it. I loved it! Little pops of bitey texture in among the chunks of meat, potatoes, and carrots. Damn, it was GOOD! And totally hit the spot on a cold, rainy day.

Most all of the ingredient quantities in the following recipe are estimated because nothing was measured. It’s stew. Whatever you’ve got, throw it in there. Zen. Go with it. Be One.

Accidental Beef Stew (Instant Pot)

  • 2 pounds beef stew meat
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, coursely chopped
  • 4 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1″ish chunks
  • 5 carrots, peeled and cut into 1″ish chunks
  • 3 stalks celery, cut into 1/2″ slices
  • 1 – 14.5 oz can whole tomatoes
  • 1 – 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 14.5 oz can beef broth, 3/4 cup reserved*
  • 2 beef bouillon cubes
  • 1 – 12 oz pkg frozen corn
  • 1 – 12 oz pkg frozen green beans
  • 1 Tablespoon dried, crushed rosemary
  • 1 Tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • about 4 cups water

Final ingredients (after it has done the pressure cooking part):

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup beef broth*
  • salt, to taste
  • a lot of black pepper, to taste really good

To make, part one:

  1. Toss the olive oil and stew beef chunks in the Instant Pot using the saute setting. Sear the beef on all sides.
  2. Add chopped onion and minced garlic. Cook a couple of minutes to soften.
  3. Add remaining ingredients, using enough water to almost cover. (NOT THE FINAL INGREDIENTS!)
  4. Cover and set the Instant Pot to 40 minutes, high pressure.
  5. Sit, relax, cuddle the pets and have a glass of wine. You’ve got an hour or so. Or more. Whenever.

To make, part deux:

  1. Once the pressure has released and you get around to it, uncover and stir the stew, admiring its beauty and mouth-watering fragrance. Set the Instant Pot to saute to keep it simmering.
  2. In a jar with a tight-fitting lid (emphasis on tight-fitting – don’t ask), add the reserved broth and flour. Cover and shake hard for about 10 seconds til smooth.
  3. Slowly stir the flour/broth mixture into the simmering stew to thicken the broth. Simmer for a couple more minutes to ensure the flour is cooked.
  4. Taste and add salt and pepper til it makes your taste buds happy. Be very generous with the pepper.
  5. Enjoy its goodness with family and friends, like a lot of them! Or prepare to freeze plenty for future hearty meals. This made 5 quarts! There is no such thing as a small stew.

**No, I didn’t COOK the cats! A year ago June, I was just home from errands minding my own business when a distraught neighbor ran over to ask me for a favor: could I bottle feed a couple of week-old orphan kittens? Okay, I said, thinking… hell, I dunno what I was thinking but a few minutes later I had a small carrier with 2 starving kittens, a container of kitten formula and bottle. My neighbor told me to let him know when they were ready for their shots, neutering, and adoption. In 8 weeks or so. Bye!

Oh. I failed the foster part. They’re still here.

Clearly I need work on this knowing-what-I’m-volunteering-for thing. But, like the accidental stew, the accidental kittens came out wonderfully! The effort was worth it.


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