Photo: A.E. Dwyer

Some readers may think Beef Stroganoff is not a seasonally appropriate dish. Where are the ramps and asparagus, the sweet peas and favas? If the temperature weren’t still lingering in the mid-40s in my hometown Chicago, I might agree with you. Chicago clings to stew season longer than necessary and for the time being I will too.

Eating with the season is a lovely, lofty and some times impractical goal. Some times the goal is just: Dinner. The elements of beef, mushrooms, noodles and sour cream can help you achieve that goal thanks to our friend, the Instant Pot.

I wanted beefiness without the expense of steak, so I chose beef chuck. Why an Instant Pot? Because it tenderizes the meat to pot roast fork-tenderness in 20 minutes, and, concentrates the sauce, key for a speedy dish.

I paired button mushrooms with brown clamshell mushroom, a varietal that sounds fancier than they are. They are small and mild, but hold their shape nicely and I like the textural contrast of intact mushrooms with stalks. If you happen to have Trader Joe’s Mushroom & Company Umami Seasoning Blend, use it. It amplifies the mushroom savoriness by multiples.

One last Stroganoff tip: You should use full-fat sour cream to finish the dish. You’ll be filled with rage if you stir in low-fat sour cream and it curdles. This dish shouldn’t fill you with anger, but with comfort and cream.

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Photo: A.E. Dwyer

Instant Pot Beef Stroganoff

Serves 4
Prep time: 10-15 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes

  • 1 1/2 lbs. beef chuck roast, trimmed of any large blocks of fat and cut into one-inch cubes
  • 1 cup diced onion (half of a large onion)
  • 2 packages (8 oz.) mushrooms (one button mushroom, one “wild” variety, cleaned and quartered or thickly sliced if large. If mushrooms are small, trim stalk ends, but leave intact
  • 1 sprig of thyme (3-4 slim stalks)
  • 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups beef broth or stock, preferably low-sodium
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. Trader Joe’s Umami Seasoning Powder (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup full-fat sour cream
  • Vegetable oil
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Cooked egg noodles with a pat of butter stirred in
  • Minced parsley or chives to garnish

Press the “Sauté” function on your Instant Pot, set to high (timer: 10 minutes). Add a splash of vegetable oil. While it heats, season the cubed beef with salt and pepper. When the oil is hot, brown the beef in batches. Remove the beef to a plate, and add the diced onion and thyme sprigs to the pot. Sprinkle the onion with a pinch of salt and stir it around, scraping up browned bits from the bottom, 1-2 minutes.

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Return the beef and any juices to the pot. Add the mushrooms. Sprinkle over the flour, onion and garlic powders, mushroom umami powder if using, and a few good grinds of black pepper. Stir everything together until the flour disappears. Add the beef stock and Worcestershire sauce and stir to incorporate. Press “Cancel.”

Clamp on the lid and press “Pressure Cook” on high, setting timer for 20 minutes.

Once the 20 minutes are up, use a long wooden spoon to carefully flip the valve to “Venting” to release the steam. Be careful—a steam geyser will shoot out of the top and you don’t want your arm anywhere near it.

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With the lid off, press “Sauté” again to simmer the sauce down a little if it seems soupy. Once reduced to your liking, hit “Cancel” and let the beef mixture cool a little. Taste to see if you’d like more pepper or salt or Worcestershire sauce—you might even consider a splash of soy sauce—and stir in any if needed. Add the sour cream and stir gently but thoroughly to mix in. The sauce should be the tawny color of baby owls.

Ladle your Stroganoff over buttered egg noodles and sprinkle with parsley or chives.