Here's my recipe and instructions for beef stew in the Instant Pot (you can do the exact same thing in the slow cooker). I'm writing my time-efficient instructions to stream line the process which takes less than an hour. Not bad for a comfort food meal that serves a crowd!
My favorite part is that this can be done in advance, so your kitchen is clean and there isn't much to do come dinner time. Sunday family dinners are nicer when there's more time for family and less time spent cooking and cleaning.
Beef roast,cut into chunks
2 large onions, sliced
5 carrots, sliced thick on the diagonal
4 celery stalks w/ leaves, sliced in big chunks
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 32oz box of beef broth
1 10.75oz can condensed tomato soup
2T dijon mustard
3T Worcestershire sauce
ground black pepper
2T brown sugar
2T balsamic vinegar
1. Start getting the pot hot by hitting the sauté button. Cut the beef into chunks.
2. Add a little olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan and add 5 or so pieces of beef. Tips: don't crowd the pan and don't touch the beef once you drop it in. You want it to sear with a nice brown crust. If you start moving them around they won't sear. It'll seem like they're sticking to the bottom, but if you let them sear they will release fairly easily. When you think it's seared, then rotate the beef 1/4 turn till all sides are browned. Remove this batch and get the next batch in. I can usually get it all browned in 3 batches.
3. Meantime, while batches are browning, prepare your vegetables. Peel the carrots and cut into pretty big chunks. Clean the celery and slice into thick chunks. You can include the tasty leaves. Slice the onions . Keep scraps in a bag for compost. You'll save tons of money on potting soil come spring time!
4. When all the beef is browned and on a plate, add the veggies to the pot. You likely won't need more oil, even though the pan may seem dry and browned. Just throw the veggies in and in a minute they'll sweat and start to release some of the delicious brown on the bottom of the pan. Stir them now and then as you scrape the bottom of the pan. Meanwhile chop up the garlic. Note: your Instant Pot might turn off because it only sautés 30 minutes at a time. If that happens just hit "sauté" again.
5. When veggies are soft-ish (carrots will still be pretty firm), add the garlic and stir for a minute.
6. Add the remaining ingredients: tomato soup, broth, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon, thyme, and pepper. I usually don't salt until the end. Stir them up and get the remaining brown bits off the bottom of the pan. The acid in the tomato soup will make this easy.
7. Add the beef back in with all its juices. Mix it all up.
8. Secure the lid, making sure the top piece is not on "venting". Hit the "manual" button and then the "+" button to increase the time to 45 minutes. Wash all your dishes. Peel, prep, and start your potatoes if you're serving over mashed potatoes.
9. When the stew is done and has naturally released its pressure, open the lid and smell how good it is already! I take out each piece of meat at this point and either slightly shred it or cut into smaller pieces, then return it to the pot.
10. Add two tablespoons of brown sugar and two tablespoons of balsamic vinegar.
11. Make a paste from the 4T cornstarch and a little cold water. Add this to the pot slowly to thicken the soup-like consistency into gravy. You may use some, all, or more of it - depending on how thick you like your stew.
12. That's it! Serve it with crusty bread or over potatoes or egg noodles. It freezes very well.