Tutu Mary Style Beef Stew in the Instant Pot

Tutu Mary, my paternal grandmother raised me every summer in Lahaina. She used to be the head cook at Kamehameha III elementary school and all her recipes were by hand, by touch, by taste. Nothing was written down, but she was a fabulous cook and my job as her mo'opuna was to memorize taste. When she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's and stopped cooking, the taste memory was all I had.

This one is a close approximation of her stew mixed with the Bisquick dumplings that were my boys' favorite. The trick with her stew is to be bold with the Worcestershire sauce but also be sweet. I spent many summers in Lahaina while my grandfather was working at Pioneer Mill and the raw sugar he would bring home in the large gallon buckets is the sweet that I remember. It had a smoky, molasses taste that reminded me of the smell of bagasse burning at the mill and the smoky smell of the sugar cane fields burning at harvest. Even when I buy raw sugar now, it's not the same so I like to use brown sugar.

Tutu Mary's Beef Stew

  • 2 lb. boneless stew meat
  • Hawaiian salt
  • Pepper
  • 3 T flour
  • 2 T butter
  • 2 c beef broth
  • 3 T. Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 T. soy sauce
  • 3 T. brown sugar
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 T. tomato paste
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 round onion
  • 1 lb. carrots
  • 3/4 lb. - 1 lb. potatoes 
  • 2 c. Bisquick
  • 2/3 c. millk
With any one pot meal, prepare everything ahead of time.
1. Season the meat with Hawaiian salt and pepper, massage it in and coat the meat with flour. Cut the vegetables in about 1" pieces. The more consistent, the better. Pre-mix your spices and seasonings ahead of time, including the tomato paste.

2. Place the butter in the IP turned to saute. Once butter is sizzling, not burned, put the meat in. I like using 2 lbs. of meat because it sits nicely in one row. Leave it until it sears and then turn it. The less you touch it, the better. If you have too much meat, you need to do this in batches. You are not cooking hamburger. You want it seared.

3. Pour the beef broth into the IP and use your spatula to get off any brown bits. Add the spice and condiment mix.

4. Add your vegetables and give everything a good stir.

5. Seal the lid, making sure the vent is on sealing and press the meat/stew button for 35 minutes. After 35 minutes, allow the cooker to naturally cool and release pressure. It takes a while to heat up and it takes a while to cool down and naturally release pressure so I let it sit for 20 minutes, then manually released pressure

6. Turn IP to saute, mix and taste the stew and adjust the seasoning. Mix the dumpling mix and drop by spoonfuls onto stew (try not to let it sink). The stew on saute should be bubbling. Let it cook 10 minutes uncovered, then cover the pot with a clear cover and let it simmer another 10 minutes or until the dumplings are done. This will automatically thicken the stew.


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