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    Winter Beef and Butternut Squash Stew for the Insta Pot (also Vegetarian)

    December 12, 2017

    Hi friends! I have been super busy testing recipes in the Insta Pot Duo and I have to say that I love it.  I had one very funny thing happen which I will tell you about later in this post – but I am glad it did happen because it saved an entire pot of stew!

    Normally I won’t post recipes until I have tested them at least three times, sometimes four, which takes time. We are empty nesters so there is always an issue of food waste, something we don’t like to do.  I want my recipes to work and I want them to be healthy and flavorful. That being said, this is one of those recipes that I will be making over and over again after only testing it out twice.

    I don’t eat meat but my hubby does (and my immediate family), and this is truly one of the best winter stews I have ever made. Believe it or not the main ingredient is Butternut Squash, the meat is secondary. Butternut Squash is a winter squash and it is plentiful this time of year for all your hearty winter soups and stews. It also packs a punch when it comes to nutrition: one cup has almost three grams of fiber, 50% of your daily vitamin C and almost 300% of vitamin A.

    This stew is very versatile, just one more thing to love about it. You can change up the ingredients with very little taste difference, which means you can add your favorite veggies without affecting the flavor or texture. From zucchini to peppers, cabbage to potatoes, the sky’s the limit. Also, I did not use beef stock for this stew (gasp!).  I want the option of making it vegetarian, which means using veggie broth, and Zoup! is my all time favorite (thank you Susan Tomaselli!).  You might be thinking, Gay – that sunds a bit strange and won’t taste good, but believe me, it is perfection.  You can get a pack of two jars from Amazon if you click on the pink link above. You will need at least two for this stew.

    {This is how we like to eat sometimes, sitting on pillows at the coffee table in front of the fire and Christmas tree}

    I purchased a 2.5 lb chuck roast from the grocer for this dish. I freely admit, I was worried that the Insta Pot would not deliver. It can take as much as 6 hours in a slow cooker to tenderize this meat. The Insta Pot however turned the texture of this meat into a buttery, delicious, cut-with-your-fork meat, in only 1 hour and 45 minutes.

    This stew is amazing with intense beef flavor (yes, even with Veggie Broth!). The butternut squash performs like a potato. You will be eating this all winter long. Be sure to buy a huge French Baguette to soak up every drop.

    I have made this both ways -with beef and Vegetarian. Of course I am partial to the Veggie stuff, but both are equally delicious.

    Winter Beef and Butternut Squash Stew for the Insta Pot (also Vegetarian)


    1 large onion, chopped

    2 cloves garlic, minced (the kind from a jar is just as good-use a teaspoon!)

    2 celery sticks, chopped

    2 carrots, chopped

    2 Tbsp. tomato paste

    2.5 – 3 lb. chuck roast (you can also substitute beef stew that is already cut)

    6 cups of peeled and chopped butternut squash cut into 1 inch cubes

    1/2 cup Marsala wine

    6 cups of Veggie Broth, my favorite is Zoup!

    One 10 oz. can of fire roasted diced tomatoes with chiles

    1 tsp. sweet Hungarian Paprika

    1 tsp. dried Thyme

    1 tsp. oregano flakes

    To cook:

    Add about a 1/4 cup of broth to the insta pot. Press “saute” and add onions, carrots, and celery. Saute for 10 minutes or until translucent. Add the garlic, and saute for 2-3 more minutes.  Press “cancel” to turn off the Insta Pot.

    Add broth, tomato paste, meat, butternut squash, wine, and spices. Stir to distribute and make sure everything is covered in broth. I did  not add the correct amount of liquid the second time I made this, and the Insta Pot detected this and sent me this cute little message:


    {yikes, thank goodness my mother in law loves me}


    All I had to do was add more broth, scrape up the bits on the bottom and continue on. Had this been in a regular pot the burn flavor would have cooked right into the dish, ruining it. Just another great feature of this appliance.

    Put the lid on, seal and turn the steam knob to “sealing”. Press “pressure cook” and change the time to 1 hour 45mins using the “+” button. (Add more or less time, depending on the size of your roast)

    Pour a glass of wine or tea, set the table, and relax for a bit! (I finished decorating for Christmas!)

    When the Insta Pot is finished, you can either let it stay in “Warm” mode (which reduces the amount of steam that vents) or go ahead and press “cancel”, and turn the steam knob to “venting” (also use a wooden spoon when doing this as it starts steaming immediately and there is always a risk of hot steam splattering your hand). When the steam is finished dispensing open the lid and ladle out the most delicious stew into your bowl with some wonderful buttery French bread.