Ridiculously Tender Beef Tips with Mushroom Gravy
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Homemade beef tips with mushroom gravy — as always with NO canned soups! My beef tips are ridiculously tender and easy to make in your slow cooker or instant pot. Serve beef tips over cauliflower mash, mashed potatoes, egg noodles, or rice!
Monday blues is hitting hard this morning.
Today I’m bringing on another round of homemade comfort food before it’s a thousand degrees in Texas and all I want is cold food for pretty much the rest of 2019.
My homemade beef tips are a family favorite. When things are going a hundred miles per hour over here on weeknights, I need to get dinner on the table without having to babysit it. So I make a round of beef tips with mushroom gravy and serve it over a bed of fluffy, garlicky mashed potatoes and somehow, with every bite the troubles of the day slowly dissipate. Hubby is happy because it’s man-food and I’m elated because fewer dishes! Although to be fair, hubby does dinner dishes, so my happiness stems more from the fact that this recipe requires minimum prep but produces maximum flavor?
Yes; that’s it.
It always makes me laugh when I share an instant pot recipe because immediately I’ll get messages asking how to make that recipe in the slow cooker or on the stove. And the reverse proves to be true when I make recipes in the slow cooker/stove top. So this one goes out to all of my slow cooker AND instant pot fanatics. Let’s let our kitchen gadgets make us dinner.
The inspiration for today’s beef tips with mushroom gravy comes from a Mississippi pot roast. I love what happens to brown gravy after it’s been mingling with pepperoncini peppers — one problem. I like to avoid using store-bought gravy mixes as much as possible. So I’m making a from-scratch gravy mix using simple ingredients that you can find in your own pantry. All except one are a pantry staple in most households, so you can quickly put this meal together on the fly.
Ingredients to make the best beef tips:
- chopped onions
- Worcestershire sauce
- pepperoncini peppers
- beef stock
What are beef tips?
This is a question I would wonder about all the time. Because that’s what people that are obsessed with food do. Basically, beef tips are any cut of meat cut into cubes. However, it is important to understand that when you’re pressure cooking or slow cooking meat, there are certain cuts of meat that work better than others. The tougher the meat, the longer it’ll take to cook; the more perfect it is for slow cooking/pressure cooking.
What cuts of beef can I use?
For beef stews and beef tips, I prefer to use a well-trimmed chuck roast that’s cut into 1-inch cubes. Sometimes, I’ll purchase ‘stew meat’ from the grocery store, which saves the time of having to trim and cut the meat into cubes. It all depends on what the grocery store has to offer; either would work for this recipe.
How to make sure you get the most tender beef tips:
Since our beef tips aren’t a high-end cut of meat, they’ll take a longer time to cook; making them perfect for the slow cooker or instant pot. To ensure that the meat falls apart, allow the meat to continue cooking until it becomes fall-apart tender. 35 minutes should do it for the pressure cooker, but the slow cooker involves a little more guesswork. If you know your slow cooker runs hot, begin checking around the 5-hour mark (on low heat), if it runs cold, you’ll most certainly want to let it go for 6-7 (at least.) Trust me, one bite of that tender meat that just falls apart, and you’ll be putting this on the weekly rotation.
Do I have to use pepperoncini peppers?
Ever since I added a handful of peperoncini to my beef stew, I haven’t been able to get over it! I love the way the pepperoncini peppers add so much flavor to this stew. I buy them in a jar already sliced, so all I have to do is add in a 1/2 cup worth. It’s important to note that you want the peppers here, not the liquid they come packed in. I’ve tested the recipe without the peppers and didn’t love it as much as I did with them. However, it is your call. They’re usually found in the condiment aisle next to the pickled jalapeños — but don’t worry; they aren’t as spicy as jalapeños!
Can I make this recipe gluten-free?
Absolutely! My suggestion would be to swap the flour for a 1-1 gluten-free baking mix. The package will be marked, and it means that you can swap 1 part flour for 1 part of the baking mix. So for this recipe, you’ll need a total of 2 tablespoons of 1-1 GF baking mix.
How to make the best beef tips with mushroom gravy:
- Sear the meat. Make sure you don’t skip this step. I’m such a big fan of the Maillard reaction. This occurs when you sear the meat in a hot pan with a little butter. It creates a nice brown crust that seals in the juices and adds so much depth to your recipes. It’s free flavor!
- Mushroom gravy: Sure adding mushrooms to our beef tips makes this a mushroom gravy, but what elevates the flavors is a hint of mushroom powder. It’s an umami mix that I picked up from Trader Joe’s. More on that in a sec.
Do I have to use mushroom base?
I always get a lot of questions asking whether a specific ingredient can simply be omitted from the recipe. This is probably one of those ingredients I’m sure a few people will have questions about so I wanted to address it. Mushroom powder is a little chef secret used to really amp up the flavors of beef gravy. You know when you eat out, and you wonder, why does their brown gravy taste so much better? UMAMI. The mushroom powder adds a subtle complexity to the sauce making it so much more delicious.
For this recipe, I highly suggest looking for a mushroom powder (such as the one from Trader Joe’s, powdered porcini or shiitake, or using a little bit of Better Than Bouillon mushroom base.) I have tested this recipe without these ingredients and found that it does not yield the same flavor as when we’re using something to help boost the umami flavor in the gravy.
This is the perfect warm and comforting meal to throw together in your slow cooker or instant pot of cold evenings. We’re back down with lower temps this week, and so I was elated to put my instant pot beef tips on the menu for the week!
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 pounds chuck roast, trimmed+ cubed (or stew meat works too)
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 onion, diced
- 8 ounces baby Bella mushrooms, cut into thick slices
- 1 ½ teaspoon EACH: garlic powder AND sugar
- 1 teaspoon EACH: onion powder, dried thyme, AND mushroom powder
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 large bay leaf
- ½ cup pepperoncini peppers, thinly sliced
- 1 ½ - 2 cups low sodium beef stock (see directions)
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch (mixed with a few tablespoons of water)
- SEAR: Season the beef with the flour, a big pinch of salt and pepper; mix well. Heat the butter in the instant pot on the sauté setting or a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. When it melts sear the beef in batches to form a brown crust, remove to a plate, and continue searing the remaining beef. Add the onions and switch to a wooden spoon. Sauté them for 1 minute, scraping the bottom of the pot to make sure no brown bits are left stuck on.
- SLOW COOKER: Place 2 cups of beef stock along with the remaining ingredients in the slow cooker (except the corn starch) and cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 5-7 hours. 35 minutes before the cooking time is up, combine ½ cup of the liquid from the slow cooker and the cornstarch in a small bowl, whisk until smooth. Add to the slow cooker and allow for the food to cook for the remaining 30 minutes. If the gravy is too thick, add a few tablespoons of water to thin it to your desired consistency. If you still find your gravy is thin, add more cornstarch mixed with a tablespoon of water. Adjust salt and pepper to preference and serve over rice/mashed potatoes/cauliflower mash, etc.
- OR INSTANT POT: Place 1 ½ cups of beef stock along with the remaining ingredients in the instant pot (except the cornstarch) and select the meat/stew setting. Cook on manual high pressure for 35 minutes. Once the stew is cooked allow natural pressure release for 10-15 minutes. This gives the meat a chance to really soak up all those flavors. Click the ‘sauté’ setting. Dissolve the cornstarch with 2-3 tablespoons of water and add that to the instant pot once the liquid starts bubbling. Allow the sauce to thicken, about 1-2 minutes, stir to combine. If the gravy becomes too thick, you can add a couple more tablespoons of water to thin it to your desired consistency. Adjust salt and pepper to preference and serve over mashed cauliflower, mashed potatoes, rice, or egg noodles.
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