Instant Pot Bottom of the Refrigerator Stew


I'm pretty new to the world of Instant Pots.  I've been using pressure cookers to create quick meal options since I was a little girl, and I honestly never saw a need to change.  That is... until I tried to use a regular pressure cooker to make an Instant Pot recipe and managed to kill my pressure cooker.  Warning to pressure-cooker users - that translation only goes one way.  

I figured that if I couldn't beat 'em, I'd join 'em, came home with an Instant Pot of my very own, and started fiddling with some of my old favorite recipes using my new gizmo.  I do have to say - I'm convinced.

One of the standard meals at our place is Bottom of the Refrigerator Stew.  We make it when the build-up of unused veggies in the bottom of the fridge is starting to get acute enough that the veg will land in the compost pile if we don't act.  This particular variant, though, is good enough that I'm actually going to buy the veg needed to recreate it rather than wait for the next collection to dictate ingredients.  It is delicious and incredibly easy to make.

Note that an Instant Pot isn't at all required to make this.*  A saute pan and a slow cooker or Dutch oven will achieve the same thing.  Use the tools in your arsenal and enjoy the goodness you've made (and the guilt you've avoided by actually using up all those veggies).

Serve this with crusty bread and a green salad, since you won't want to throw your lettuce into the pot...



  • 2 large yellow onions
  • 2 T chicken schmaltz** (or olive oil if you don't have schmaltz)
  • 1.5 - 2 lbs of chuck steak or stew meat, cut into 1/2" pieces
  • 2 T Montreal Steak Seasoning
  • Quart (32 oz or so) of stewed tomatoes 
  • 3-4 c of sliced veggies.  For this particular meal, we used yellow squash, zucchini squash, carrots, celery and Jerusalem artichoke.  But use what you have on hand and need to use up.
  • 1/4 c fresh parsley leaves
  • 2 T sherry vinegar 

1.  Cut your onions into 1/4" slices, cut slices in half, and separate into rings.

2.  Slice and dice your remaining veggies into spoon-sized pieces.

3.  Turn instant pot on to "Saute".  Melt schmaltz, add onions and stir them until they start to brown.  Don't let them burn.

4.  Push onions to the side and add beef cubes.  Let beef brown, stirring to prevent burning.

5.  When beef and onions are browned, turn off Instant Pot.  Add tomatoes and Montreal Steak Seasoning.  Close lid, be sure that the top vent is set to pressure cook, and pressure cook for 30 minutes.  Use this time to put together a green salad.

6.  After pressure cooker cycle finishes, vent steam carefully, open lid and put in the veggies and parsley.  Close lid, set vent to pressure cook again, and pressure cook for 7 minutes more.

7.  After second pressure cook cycle is complete, vent and remove lid and stir in sherry vinegar.  Taste to see if you need to add pepper.  The stew is ready to serve now, but will just get better and better if you leave it in the Instant Pot using the "Keep Warm" setting.


*  Before I added an Instant Pot to my arsenal, I regularly made Bottom of the Refrigerator Stew in a cast-iron frying pan, stovetop.  Here's the recipe on our Quick Dinners page.

**  We couldn't live without schmaltz in our kitchen, and we are confident that you'll agree if you start using it in your cooking.  Here is how to make schmaltz of your very own using the delicious, healthy fat from Kennedy Ranch chickens.