I love pressure cookers. Especially when I’m making chili or stews because, let’s be honest…who has the time to simmer meat for 3 hours to get it to that oh-so-delicious, fall-apart-in-your-mouth stage? I don’t, that’s for sure!!
If you haven’t heard of the Instant Pot, well, let me introduce you. This bad boy is a 7 in 1 Multi-Functional Pressure Cooker. Yep, 7 in 1. It’s a Pressure Cooker, a Slow Cooker, a Rice Cooker (if you’re into rice), a Yogurt maker, a Steamer & Warmer, and it has a Saute/Browning function as well. How many appliances can you replace with just this one?
I got my Instant Pot right after Thanksgiving and I have only used it for the Saute/Browning and Pressure Cooker features thus far and let me tell you…I love it. My old pressure cooker, the stove top one that once belonged to my Daddy, is wondering why I have forsaken it!!! Sorry, but, right now…I’m head over heels in love with the convenience of the Instant Pot. The quick release option alone saves me from pacing back and forth while waiting for the old cooker to release all it’s pressure.
I ordered some beautiful country style pork ribs and decided to make a pork stew instead of my usual beef stew, because…well…if you know me at all, you know pork is my miracle meat. Luv me some pork!!! Country style pork ribs are the meatiest of the ribs and lends itself very well to low and slow or pressure cooking.
So, here we go. Cut the pork into 1 1/2″ to 2″ pieces. Cut the carrots, butternut squash and celery into 1/2″ pieces. Cut mushrooms into halves or quarters depending on the size of the mushroom.
Sprinkle the pork with salt and pepper. We’re first going to cook the onions and garlic and then brown the meat using the Saute function. After you press the “Saute” button, the read-out display will say “On”. You’ll know it’s ready and hot when the display reads “Hot”. Be patient! It might 8 – 10 minutes to get to that stage. When I was doing the recommended initial testing of the Instant Pot, I didn’t realize that and after watching it continue to display “On” I came to the conclusion that my Instant Pot was defective. So…I call my sister and tell her to test hers (before the return period expired) and I started to log on to initiate a return. As soon as I did that, the display changed. And of course…they do tell you that in the manual. So…be patient!!
Once it reads “Hot” add the olive oil (or fat of your choice…I like bacon drippings) and then add the onions and garlic. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently until soft and slightly browned. Remove that to a bowl and set aside. Add more oil if necessary and add 1/2 the pork. We’re doing this in 2 batches so we don’t overcrowd the meat.
Once all pork is cooked, remove and set aside. We’re then going to deglaze the pan using about 1/2 cup of the bone broth, scraping up those delicious, flavor packed browned bits left behind by the pork. Then, add in the remaining broth, the tomato paste, the coconut aminos and the remaining seasonings. Whisk until the tomato paste is incorporated. Add the meat back in along with about 1/3 of the butternut squash and 1/3 of the carrots. These are going to cook and break down and act as a natural thickener for the sauce.
Put the lid on and lock it. Make sure the knob on the lid is turned to “Sealing”. Press the Warm/Cancel button to cancel out of the Saute mode and then press the Meat/Stew button and adjust the countdown timer to 20 minutes. Again, the “On” will display until it has reached pressure and then it will switch to the count down timer. It took mine about 10 minutes, so….go do something else…because a watched Instant Pot never reaches pressure fast enough!!!
Once the count down time is finished, turn the knob from “Sealing” to “Venting” and wait for all the pressure to be released. Open the lid (you won’t be able to open it if it hasn’t finished venting). Search out some of the carrots and squash and mash them with a fork to further break them down. Add in the onions, mushrooms and remaining carrots and butternut squash, making sure not to fill past the “max fill line”.
Press the “Warm/Cancel” button and then press the “manual” button and adjust the timer down to 1 minute. The first time I made my recipe, I put in 15 minutes here. Those veggies were really, really soft. I then also realized that the veggies are cooking the whole time the unit is coming up to pressure, so, since that takes about 10 minutes, I only add an additional 1 minute (the countdown) and my veggies are perfect. Adjust your countdown timer according to your tastes – 1 -4 minutes for veggies that still have their shape and a tiny bit of firmness, up to 15 minutes for very soft veggies.
Once that is done, turn the knob to “venting”. Once vented, open the lid. Into a cup or bowl, spoon out about 1/2 cup of liquid and add to it the arrowroot powder. Using a fork, stir until the arrowroot powder is incorporated, then add the slurry to the stew, stirring carefully. This will further thicken to stew. Adjust the seasonings to your liking with fine sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper.
Serve immediately and enjoy!!
- Instant Pot
- Instant Pot Lid – this is an optional clear lid that is used when using functions that don’t require using the locking lid.
Instant Pot Pork Stew
- 1 tsp fine sea salt,
- 1 tsp black pepper,
- 2 Tbsp olive oil (or your choice of fat)
- 1 small onion, cut into 1/4 pieces
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 - 2 lbs country style pork ribs, cut into 1-1/2" - 2" inch pieces
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 Tbsp olive oil or your choice of fat
- 2 cups bone broth
- 2 Tbsp coconut aminos
- 2 Tbsp tomato paste
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 butternut squash, cut into 1/2" pieces
- 4 stalks celery, cut into 1/2" pieces
- 4 carrots, cut into 1/2" rounds
- 8-12 oz white or baby bella mushrooms cut into halves or quarters
- 2 Tbsp arrowroot powder
- Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper. Use your judgement and personal tastes to either add more or less salt or pepper.
- Press the "Saute" button on the Instant Pot. The display will read "On". When it is ready, it will read "Hot". When it does, add in the olive oil (or your personal choice of fat) and saute the onions and garlic for about 3 minutes. Remove onions and garlic and set aside.
- Add more oil to the pot if necessary and add 1/2 the pork and sear the meat until nicely browned on most sides. Remove and repeat with the second batch. Remove meat and set aside.
- Add about 1/2 cup of the bone broth to deglaze the pan. Be sure to scrape up those delicious browned bits left behind...lots of flavor there!
- Add remaining bone broth, coconut aminos, tomato paste, thyme, paprika, cumin, cayenne and bay leaf. Whisk until tomato paste is incorporated.
- Add meat back to the pot along with 1/3 of the butternut squash and 1/3 of the carrots (the veggies will act as a natural thickener). Close and lock the lid. Turn the "Sealing/Venting" knob on the lid to "Sealing". Press the "Warm/Cancel" button and then press the "Meat/Stew" button and adjust the count down timer from 35 to 20 using the "-" button.
- The readout will display "On" and then when it is fully pressurized it will switch to the count down timer of "20". Be patient...mine took 10 minutes before it switched to the count down timer!
- When the count down timer is done, carefully turn the knob on the lid to "Venting". When it is done venting, remove the lid. With a fork, search out the really soft carrots and butternut squash and mash them against the side of the pot. This helps to thicken. It's okay if you don't catch all of them. They'll continue to break down when we cook the remaining veggies.
- Add the sauteed onions, mushrooms and the remaining carrots, celery and butternut squash, making sure not to go past the "max fill line". Replace the lid and lock. Turn the knob to "Sealing".
- Press the "Manual" button and decrease the count down timer to 1 minute. The "On" will display and again, mine took about 10 minutes before it reached pressure and started the count down timer (during which the veggies are cooking), so adjust the timer to your preference for the softness of vegetables.
- Once timer is done, turn the knob to "Venting". When done, open the lid. Into a cup, spoon out about 1/2 cup of liquid and make a slurry by adding the arrowroot powder to the liquid and stirring with a fork until incorporated. Add the slurry to the stew and carefully stir until thickened.
- Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper.Serve immediately.