A New Stew

Are you a family with a divided dinner table? Preparing one thing for the grown-ups and another for the younger family members? As a parent it makes me crazy when I cook what I think is a fantastic dinner, only to be met with the horrified stare of my newly minted 7-year-old. So I understand if you’re looking at this recipe and rolling your eyes, wondering what made me think this recipe would be a good fit for a family recipe column.

Have faith! This stew has been tested by many, many kids and is a proven winner. Even my own little eye-roller loves it and recommended I share it with everyone “in my magazine.” The meaty stew is backed with bright flavors and loads of umami. Serving it atop rice helps cut the mild heat brought by the poblano peppers. I hope this stew helps your family get through the hectic weeks leading up to the holidays. (And let me know how you like it at recipefile@pdxparent.com.)


This recipe is cooked in an electric pressure cooker, such as an Instant Pot. The popular Instant Pot is the most common brand of electric pressure cooker and has spawned a huge fan base with Facebook groups, blogs and cookbooks devoted to getting the most out of it. (But I have also included slow-cooker and oven directions as well.)

Brazilian-style Beef Stew


1 large onion, chopped

2 Poblano peppers, seeded and chopped

10 large cloves garlic, sliced (or 4 tablespoons minced)


1½ pounds chuck stew meat, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 package (14-ounces) kielbasa, halved and sliced

1 cup orange juice

3 cups water or beef broth

1 can (15 ounces) diced canned tomatoes, undrained

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, or to taste

2 cans (15 ounces each) black beans, drained and rinsed

4 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 3 tablespoons water


1. Add all ingredients to the pot of the electric pressure cooker, except black beans and cornstarch slurry.

2. Secure the lid on the pressure cooker. Use the “manual” function, adjust to “high” setting and adjust time to 21 minutes, then let the pressure cooker do its thing. (Or simply press “stew” setting.)

3. Do a natural pressure release (or quick pressure release if you’re pressed for time). Take off lid.

4. Stir in black beans and cornstarch slurry. Reset pressure cooker to “saute” and simmer gently until thickened, about 5 minutes.

5. Serve over brown rice. Add jalapeno slices, chopped red onion, orange or lime wedges, and cilantro sprigs to taste.

Alternative Cooking Methods:

SLOW COOKER: Sauté onion, pepper and garlic in a pan over medium heat with a tablespoon of oil. Transfer to slow cooker. Add remaining ingredients (except black beans and cornstarch mixed with water) and cook on high for four hours, or low for eight hours. Add the cornstarch slurry near the end. Stir in black beans and heat through.

OVEN: Preheat oven to 325˚ F. Place all ingredients (except beans and cornstarch mixed with water) in a large dutch oven. Cover securely and cook for 2 to 2½ hours, or until beef is tender. Remove from oven. Add black beans and corn-starch slurry and simmer gently for 5 minutes on the stovetop until thickened.

Joanna Sooper is the owner of Turnip the Heat cooking school (visit turniptheheatcooking.com for more info), as well as an elementary school teacher. Her favorite things include hosting friends in her yard in Northeast Portland and adding to her secret stash of fish sauces. She has a 7-year-old son.

Joanna Sooper
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