Umami Beef Pot Roast and Beef Stew

Question: what to you have with the last bit of the pot roast you made last week?

Answer: the beef stew you just made.

The recipes:

Pot Roast. Use this recipe to the letter for a pressure cooker, or with my adaptations for a slow cooker:


You’ll get better results with a slow cooker, and you likely won’t have to thicken the gravy. Do the searing of the roast on the stove top, on high, four 10 minutes per side—no touching it, and don’t skimp. Slow cook on either high (about 6 hours) or low (about 10 hours), until meat is fork-tender, then add the potato and carrot for the last hour. Pro tip: add 1/2 to 1 tsp of Worcestershire sauce as an added umami element and 1-2 pinches of cayenne pepper for an oh-so-slight little bite.

Beef stew; classic, plus my “umami mods” that make knees buckle, so eat sitting down:

  • 2-3 pounds or about a kilo of good, cubed beef
  • 3 cups water with 4 beef bullion cubes dissolved
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 3 large potatoes, cubed
  • 2-3 carrots, cubed
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 shoots celery, chopped 1/2″
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 2-3 white or crimini mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 1-2 Bay Leaves
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp coarse ground black pepper
  • 2 pinches cayenne pepper
  • 1 TBS soy sauce (umami)
  • 1 TBS balsamic vinegar (umami)
  • 1 TBS fish sauce (umami)
  • 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce (umami)
  • 1-2 rounded tsp cornstarch, potato starch, or thickening agent of preference
  • S&P to taste, at the end

Brown the beef cubes in batches on the stovetop with 2-3 TBS of a good cooking oil like coconut, lard, tallow, palm, or olive.

Put everything together in a pot on the stove, EXCEPT the potatoes, carrots, celery, onions, and peas. Bring to a boil, reduce to low/medium low and cover for a light simmer for 1 1/2 hours.

Add the potatoes, carrots, celery, onions, and peas, bring back to a boil, simmer covered for another 1 1/2 hours.

Add 1 rounded tsp thickening starch to enough cold water to stir into a slurry, add to the pot, bring to a boil and stir. If the gravy is thick enough to your liking, then S&P to taste and you’re done. If not thick enough, do another tsp of starch and that ought to be sufficient.

One last thing. If you make your beef cubes yourself from a roast, then put the trimmings in a saucepan, cover with water, then simmer covered for the first 1 1/2 hour of cooking the stew, then strain it into the pot.

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Richard Nikoley

I started writing Free The Animal in late 2003 as just a little thing to try. 20 years later, turns out I've written over 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from diet, health, philosophy, politics, social antagonism, adventure travel, expat living, location and time independent—while you sleep— income by geoarbitrage, and food pics. I intended to travel the world "homeless," but the Covidiocy Panicdemic squashed that. I became an American expat living in Thailand. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. ... I leave the toilet seat up. Read More


  1. Compay on October 2, 2020 at 10:20

    Nice nosh Richard, it’s really yummy and must give it a try but sadly you got it wrong with your numbers. I remember you predicted no more than 30K deaths in the US. It is way above that…
    This Covid stuff is no mean feat Richard and we would be wrong to simply dismiss it. And it ain’t over yet… › us
    United States Coronavirus: 7,507,524 Cases and 212,912 deaths

    • Richard Nikoley on October 3, 2020 at 01:59


      Do the math. Extrapolate from TOTAL ALL-CAUSE deaths to date, 2020, at a daily rate to the rest of the 90+ some odd days left in the year.

      Compare it to the established total deaths for 2018 and 2019.

      2.5% and 3% reduction respectively.

      Now, go fuck off. You’re dismissed for fucktardedness.

  2. Doug on October 12, 2020 at 07:54

    Thank you Richard. Here some more reading for people willing to get the heads out of their ass: (or at least consider trying)

    Keep them coming….

  3. Ben on October 27, 2020 at 01:31

    Nice recipe

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