Instant Pot Cuban Meat and Potatoes (Carne con Papas)

This blog is all about family recipes. Meals that are at the core simple and unpretentious. Therefore, it wouldn’t be right if I didn’t include a recipe for the the one cuisine that is actually an American metaphor for simple and unpretentious….Meat and Potatoes. That said, if you have ever tried to make stew meat taste tender and delicious, you know that simple is NOT an accurate description. It takes the skill of a grandmother with decades of knowledge to turn that hunk of cheap, bland beef into something that is flavorful and doesn’t require 30 minutes of chewing. Luckily, my grandmother has that meat and potatoes magic and it’s called Carne con Papas.

The Carne con Papas Magician, my abuela Rosa.

So what is this magic that turns tough lean stew meat into a flavorful, tender bowl of deliciousness? First, spices and herbs that add flavor. Second, getting the most out of the ingredients you add at every step. And third, cooking it low and slow. The first 2 are easy to achieve with a little know how, but the last one is the kicker. Most people don’t have the time needed to get such a tough meat to become tender. Of course, with the Magic Instant Pot, now anyone can be a Meat and Potatoes Magician.

Instant Pot Cuban Meat and Potatoes (Carne con Papas)

Recipe by Lana Horruitiner Perez adapted from my abuela Rosa Esmeralda Horruitiner

  • 2 lbs Beef Chuck Stew Meat
  • 1 Tbl Onion Powder
  • 1 Tbl Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Cumin
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Pepper
  • 1/4 tsp Paprika
  • 1/4 tsp ground All Spice
  • 2 + 1 Tbl Olive Oil
  • 1 Yellow Onion, diced small
  • 4 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp White Vinegar
  • 1 Tbl Tomato Paste
  • 1- 8oz can Tomato Sauce
  • 2 1/2 cups Water with 1 cubito Chicken Bouillon (or you can use 2 1/2 cups chicken broth)
  • 2 lbs White Potatoes, quartered
  • 2 Bay Leaves

Place the 2 lbs of Stew Meat in a bowl.

stew meat
You are probably thinking, dang that’s expensive for stew meat. I didn’t have the time to look for a bargain when making this recipe and I live in NYC. Ain’t nothing cheap here.

Sprinkle 1 Tbl Onion Powder, 1 Tbl Garlic Powder, 1 tsp Cumin, 1 tsp Salt, 1/2 tsp Pepper, 1/4 tsp Paprika, and 1/4 tsp ground All Spice over the meat. Using tongs, mix the meat with the spices so it’s all coated well and set aside. (I like to mix all the spices together in a small bowl first and then sprinkle over the meat. But if you want to save on cleaning a another bowl, you can just sprinkle over the meat directly. Just make sure you mix it well.)

stew meat carne con papas

In a microwave safe measuring jug or medium sized bowl, add 2 1/2 cups water and the Chicken Bouillon cube. Microwave for 30 seconds to help dissolve the cube. (if you are using chicken broth you can skip this step and just measure out 1 cup broth.) Set aside.

Press the “SAUTE” button on your Instant Pot. When it’s hot, add 2 TBL of Olive Oil and add the meat and sear until just starting to get brown. make sure to turn the pieces every 2 or 3 minutes to get all sides browned. Set the browned meat aside on a plate. (You will have to brown the meat in 2 batches. Don’t crowd the pot or else the meat will not brown well.)

Add the remaining 1 Tbl Olive Oil and the chopped Yellow Onion. Add about 1/4 cup of the Chicken Broth and scrape up the browned bits and spices that are stuck to the bottom of the pot. Keep sauteing the Onions for about 5-7 mins until they become soft and the liquid evaporates.

Add the minced Garlic and cook for just 30 seconds.

Add 1 Tbl Tomato Paste and stir it in for 1 min. You want the Tomato Paste to cook and brown a little with the Onion and Garlic. Add the rest of the Chicken Broth, 1 tsp White Vinegar, and 8 oz can of Tomato Sauce. Scrape the bottom of the pot again. (This is important to do at every step so you don’t have any browned bits stuck to the bottom or you will get a burn notice when you start to pressure cook.)

carne con papas liquids
I freeze my leftover tomato paste in 1 Tbl portions. That’s what those weird discs are.

Add the Meat and any juices that accumulate on the plate, to the Instant Pot. Place the Potatoes on top of the Meat. It’s OK if all the Potatoes are not completely submerged int he liquid. Add 2 Bay Leaves.

Lock the Instant Pot Lid into place and make sure the valve is set to the “SEALED” position. Pressure Cook for 30 mins on High. Once it’s done, allow pressure to Natural Release for 15 mins and then release the rest manually. Add salt to taste and serve over White Rice.

Buen Provecho!

carne con papas20190701_204928

11 Comments Add yours

  1. Jill says:

    Oooh I haven’t had this in forever. I just want to reach through the screen and take a bite. My only concern is the cook time and release time for the potatoes. What’s the texture of the potatoes when they’re done?


    1. Ivette says:

      The potatoes came out perfect and whole. Just make sure to leave them in large chunks and lay them on top of the meat, just like the recipe says.


  2. TheRealEdwin says:

    Heads up: You call out white vinegar and bay leaves in the recipe but its not in the ingredient list.


    1. drlanaperez says:

      Thank you so much for letting me know. I added them to the ingredients list. I am the worst editor. You should see my autocorrect text message fails. They are legendary. lol


  3. Ivette says:

    Hi Lana,

    I made this for the fam and everyone loved it. They liked it so much they asked for a second batch. It reminds me of Sundays. 😀 The recipe was spot on. I’m looking forward to trying some of the others.

    Say “hi” to abuela. 🤗 💚


    1. drlanaperez says:

      Awe that makes me so happy! I’m so glad you liked it. I just talked to my abuela on the phone. I don’t think she understands exactly what a blog or website is, but I know she would be so excited that you and your family enjoyed it.


  4. Lydia says:

    If I use 4 lbs of meat, do I double the recipe to adjust?


    1. drlanaperez says:

      Hi. If you add amount then you use the same time as long as the pieces are the same size. With and Instant Pot, the time is based ont he density and size fo the food not the quantity. Hope this helps.


  5. Lydia says:

    Can these recipes be made in a crock pot? If so, do you use the same ingredients and amounts?


    1. drlanaperez says:

      They probably could, but since I don’t use a crock pot I am not sure the time difference. You probably don’t need to use as much liquid as well. I would go to the CrockPot website they have great tips on slow cooker recipes and times.


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