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Instant Pot Beef and Lentil Stew

A bowl of lentil and beef stew with an Instant Pot and parsley in the background

 Instant Pot Beef and Lentil Stew, hearty lentils with tender pieces of beef chuck, ready in about an hour, thanks to pressure cooking.

I have a bag of lentils in my Summer Camellia bean box, and I also have an unseasonably cold late day in late spring. I need a robust dinner to warm up, so it’s time for lentil and beef stew.

A bowl of lentil and beef stew with an Instant Pot and parsley in the background
Instant Pot Beef and Lentil Stew
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Beef & Lentil Stew at Camellia Beans inspired this recipe. It is a cross between my beef stew technique (like this Instant Pot Beef and Black-Eyed Pea Stew) and my lentil technique (like this Pressure Cooker Lentil and Bacon Soup).

🥫Ingredients

  • Olive oil
  • Beef chuck
  • Fine sea salt
  • Onion
  • Celery
  • Garlic
  • Dried thyme
  • Red wine
  • Carrots
  • Beef broth or chicken broth
  • Crushed tomatoes
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • Minced parsley for garnish

See the recipe card for quantities.

🥘 Substitutions

Types of beef: I prefer chuck roast for pressure cooking, but top round or bottom round will also work. Boneless short ribs are an excellent replacement for the chuck roast. For all these cuts of beef, the cooking time is the same.

Vegetarian/Vegan: If you want a vegetarian version of this recipe, skip the meat and substitute vegetable broth for the beef broth. Then, instead of softening the onions, cook them until they are browning at the edges to add caramelized onion flavor to the stew.

Avoiding alcohol: Skip the red wine, and substitute a bit more beef broth or chicken broth to deglaze the pan

Broth or water: I like the extra depth that broth adds to this recipe, especially homemade beef or chicken broth. (Chicken broth is neutral enough that it works in this beef dish. It doesn’t taste “like chicken”; it just adds body.) If you’re using store-bought broth, try to get a low-sodium variety because store-bought broth can be very, VERY salty. Also, you can use water instead of broth if you want a simpler recipe. Just don’t forget the extra salt, or it will taste flat.

What type of lentils can I use in this recipe?

Any kind of lentil will work in this recipe. I used common Brown lentils, available at every grocery store in my area. If you want to get fancy, try French green lentils du Puy, Italian Umbrian Lentils, or Indian red lentils in this recipe.

How to make Instant Pot Beef and Lentil Stew

  1. Sort and rinse the lentils: Sort the lentils, then rinse them under cold running water. Set aside for later.
  2. Sear the beef: Cut the chuck roast into 1-inch cubes and season with salt. Heat vegetable oil in the Instant Pot set to Sauté mode, and brown the beef in two batches, browning on one side only, about 3 minutes a batch. Move the beef to a bowl for later.
  3.  Sauté the onion, celery, and garlic: Add the minced onion, celery, and garlic to the pan, and season with fine sea salt and dried thyme. Sauté until the onion softens, about 5 minutes.
  4. Deglaze with wine:  Pour in the red wine, bring to a simmer, and simmer for a minute to boil off some of the alcohol.
  5. Everything in the pot: Add the seared beef (and any juices in the bowl), the sorted and rinsed lentils, beef broth, and crushed tomatoes to the pot. Stir, then add a layer of peeled carrots on top.
  6. Pressure cook for 15 minutes with a Natural Release: Lock the lid on the pot, and pressure cook at high pressure for 15 minutes in an Instant Pot or other electric pressure cooker, or for 13 minutes in a stovetop PC. Let the pressure come down naturally for at least 15 minutes.
  7. Serve: Open the pressure cooker, stir in the fresh ground black pepper, and serve.

🛠 Equipment

A 6-quart pressure cooker

📏Scaling

This recipe doubles if you have an 8-quart pressure cooker. (It’s a bit too much for a 6-quart pressure cooker.) Cut all the ingredients in half and this recipe will fit in a 3-quart pressure cooker. The cooking time does not change; it takes the same amount of time to cook the cubes of beef and lentils, no matter how many.

☃️ Storage

You can make this pot of stew a day ahead, refrigerate the inner pot (covered), and reheat it the next day. For longer storage or storing leftovers, I portion the stew into 2-cup storage containers, which will keep for a couple of days in the refrigerator or up to 6 months in the freezer.

💡Tips and Tricks

  • Why do I brown the meat on only one side? Browning adds a lot of flavor to the recipe. Browning the meat itself adds flavor to the cubes of beef, and the layer of caramelized brown bits left in the pot (“fond” in French) dissolve into the liquid, adding depth and body to the stew. That said, I only brown the beef on one side. It takes too long to brown the meat on all sides – I do not have the patience, and the browned bits start to burn after the second or third batch. Browning one side gives me the best balance of flavor and speed.
  • Can I skip the browning step? Yes, you can, but as I said above, you’re going to lose some of the flavor. I consider it an essential step, but if it’s the difference between making the recipe and not having time to make the recipe, go ahead and skip it.

What to Serve with Instant Pot Beef and Lentil Stew

I love the combination of lentils and rice, so I make a pot of Instant Pot White Rice or Instant Pot Brown Rice as a side dish. Though, any starchy side (like Instant Pot Smashed Potatoes)

Print

🔪🔪Recipe🔪🔪

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A bowl of lentil and beef stew with an Instant Pot and parsley in the background

Instant Pot Beef and Lentil Stew


  • Author: Mike Vrobel
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 10 cups 1x

Description

Instant Pot Beef and Lentil Stew, hearty lentils with tender pieces of beef chuck, ready in about an hour, thanks to pressure cooking.


  • 1 pound dry lentils
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 pounds beef chuck roast, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 large onion, minced
  • 1 rib celery, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ cup red wine
  • 4 cups beef broth or chicken broth (homemade or low-sodium store-bought)
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt (if using homemade broth)
  • 14– to 16-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 pound of carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch lengths
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • Minced parsley for garnish

Instructions

  1. Sort and rinse the lentils: Sort through the lentils, removing any debris or broken lentils. Put the lentils in a fine-mesh strainer, rinse with cold water, and set aside for later.
  2. Sear the beef in two batches: Heat the olive oil in an Instant Pot using Sauté mode adjusted to high (medium-high heat for other pressure cookers) until the oil starts to shimmer, about 3 minutes. While the pot heats, sprinkle the beef cubes with 1 teaspoon salt. Add ½ of the beef and sear until well browned on one side, about 3 minutes. (Don’t crowd the pot, or the beef will steam, not brown). Remove the browned beef to a bowl. Add the rest of the beef to the pot, and sear until browned on one side, about 3 more minutes. Move the second batch of beef into the bowl, and set it aside for later.
  3. Sauté the aromatics: Add the onion, celery, and garlic to the pot, and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon of fine sea salt and 1 teaspoon of dried thyme. Sauté until the onions soften, about 5 minutes, occasionally scraping the bottom of the pot with a flat-edged wooden spoon to loosen any browned bits of beef or onion. Pour the red wine into the pot, bring to a simmer, and simmer for 1 minute. Scrape the bottom of the pot with the wooden spoon to make sure nothing is sticking. Stir in the beef and any juices in the bowl. Add the rinsed lentils, then pour in the beef broth and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of salt (if using homemade broth). Pour in the crushed tomatoes and stir everything, then add the carrots in a layer on top of everything else.
  4. Pressure cook the stew for 15 minutes with a Natural Release: Lock the pressure cooker lid. Pressure cook at high pressure for 15 minutes in an Instant Pot or other electric pressure cooker, or for 12 minutes in a stovetop pressure cooker. (Use Manual or Pressure Cook mode in an Instant Pot, and set the timer for 15 minutes). When the cooking time is over, let the pressure come down naturally, about 20 minutes. (You can quick release any remaining pressure after 15 minutes if you’re in a hurry.) Remove the lid, tilting it away from you to avoid any hot steam.
  5. Serve: Sprinkle with the teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper, and stir it into the pot. Ladle the stew into bowls, sprinkle each bowl with some minced fresh parsley, serve, and enjoy!
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 55 minutes
  • Category: Sunday Dinner
  • Method: Pressure Cooker
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Instant Pot Beef and Lentil Stew, Pressure Cooker Beef and Lentil Stew

Instant Pot Quick Lentil Curry
Instant Pot Ethiopian Red Lentils (Misir Wat)
Instant Pot Rotisserie Chicken and Lentil Soup
My other Instant Pot and Pressure Cooker Recipes

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