This simple instant pot beef stew can be ready in a fraction of the time that beef stew typically takes thanks to the pressure cooker. This stew has tender pieces of beef and plenty of veggies cooked in liquid and served in the resultant luxuriously thick gravy.
INSTANT POT: In the instant pot, add 1 cup beef stock first. Next add the thinly sliced carrots, sliced celery, fire-roasted diced tomatoes, potatoes, and tomato paste.
BEEF PREP: Cut the beef chuck roast into 1-2 inch bite-sized cubes (removing any large, tough pieces of fat or gristle.) Season all sides to taste with salt and pepper (I use about 1 teaspoon of each).
BEEF: Heat a large cast iron skillet on high. (Note 1). Add in 1 tablespoon olive oil. Once the dutch oven is hot, add the cubed beef (it should sizzle as soon as it hits the skillet). Sear beef for about 2 minutes on each side (to get a nice sear, don't stir the beef around. Leave it in one spot and then, using tongs, flip it to the other side after about 2 minutes) Sear each piece about 4 minutes total. (Add the beef pieces to skillet in 2-3 batches so you don't overcrowd the beef and get a nice sear.) Remove the beef with a slotted spoon into a bowl. Add 1 more tablespoon oil only IF needed. Add the seared beef and any accumulated juices to the instant pot.
GRAVY: Do NOT wash out the skillet. Let slightly cool and then add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Reduce heat to medium low. Add in the diced onions. Cook for 3-4 minutes, scraping up the browned bits in the skillet as you stir the onions. Then add in the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds. Add in the butter and allow to melt. (Reduce heat to low as needed, if anything is getting too hot) While whisking constantly, add in the flour and, whisking constantly, cook for one minute to get rid of the raw flour taste. Pour in the grape juice gradually, while whisking constantly. Simmer over low heat, stirring constantly, until a thick paste forms, about 1-3 minutes. Make sure to scrape the bottom of the skillet as well. Gradually add in 1 and 1/2 cups of the beef stock and bring to a simmer. Whisk until smooth and thickened, another 2-4 minutes.
COOK: Pour the gravy mixture into the instant pot. Add in the beef bouillon cube (crumble it up and add it in), paprika, dried parsley, sprigs of fresh thyme or dried thyme, bay leaves, and Worcestershire sauce. Give everything a good stir. Make sure the beef is submerged in liquid as much as possible, press below other ingredients as needed (this will keep it nice and tender). Pour the remaining 1/2 cup stock in the instant pot. Close and seal the instant pot. Cook on high pressure for 40 minutes, then allow the pressure to release naturally for 15 minutes (don't touch anything for 15 minutes). Vent to release any remaining pressure, then carefully open the lid. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Stir in the frozen peas.
FINISH: Taste the stew and add additional seasonings if needed (salt, pepper, or a pinch of sugar goes a long way). Serve the stew in bowls and enjoy with fresh herbs if desired.
Note 1: I recommend a cast iron skillet; nonstick skillet is ok. While it would make sense and you CAN use the saute function in the instant pot, I personally don't for a few reasons. I've found the flavor development is much better and the process is easier in a separate skillet. You also don't risk getting a burn warning if anything is left on the bottom of the instant pot.
Note 2: Here are the bouillon cubes I use.