1 1/2 to 2 lb beef steak (economical cuts are best) OR cube steak
See *NOTE below
salt and pepper
1 Tbsp oil
2 Tbsp butter, divided
6 oz mushrooms, sliced (optional)
3 onions, sliced 1/4" thick
1 tsp sugar
2 1/4 cups beef or chicken stock
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp tomato paste, (optional)
1 bay leaf
3 Tbsp cornstarch
3 1/2 Tbsp water
2 lb russet or Yukon Gold potatoes
3-6 Tbsp milk, cream or sour cream
2 Tbsp butter
salt and pepper to taste
*NOTE: Economical cuts such as blade, chuck, round, rump and eye of round work well in this. “Cube steak” is steak that has been tenderized by the butcher, not steak cut in cubes. It needs a shorter cooking time: 12 minutes instead of 16 minutes for other cuts.
Cut the steak into serving-size pieces. Pat it dry with paper towels and season well with salt and pepper. Peel the potatoes, cut in 1 1/2" chunks and put them in cold water with two teaspoons vinegar or lemon juice to prevent browning.
Press Saute on the Instant Pot and when the display says Hot, add the oil. Brown the steaks well on both sides. Transfer them to a plate.
Add 1 Tbsp of butter and the mushrooms to the pot. Brown them for several minutes and then transfer them to a separate plate.
Add the other Tbsp of butter, the onions and the sugar to the pot. Saute for several minutes. The sugar helps to caramelize the onions.
Add the broth and thoroughly scrape the bottom of the pot to dislodge all the browned bits. Add the garlic, Worcestershire sauce, soy and tomato paste and stir well. Add the bay leaf. Stir in the mushrooms and bring the mixture to a boil.
Press Cancel and add the steaks, spooning the broth over them a bit.
Drain the potatoes and put them in a tin foil boat, small pan or casserole. Put the potatoes on the trivet on top of the steak and mushroom mixture.
Close the pot and set the valve to Sealing. Push Pressure Cook (or Manual) and adjust the time using the + or - button to get to 16 minutes. If using cube steak, set time for 12 minutes.
When it beeps that it's done, leave it for 10 minutes natural release. Flip the valve to Venting and when the pin drops, press Cancel and open 'er up.
Empty the potatoes into a bowl and cover it with a plate for now. With a large spatula, gently transfer the steak to a plate and cover with foil. Discard the bay leaf.
Press Saute. Stir the cornstarch and water until smooth and add about half of it to the sauce. Stir until it thickens. If you want it thicker, add more cornstarch slurry. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed. Press Cancel and slide the steak back into the pot, spooning the gravy over it.
Mash the potatoes, add the milk or cream, butter and salt and pepper to taste. Serve the potatoes smothered with the mushroom/onion gravy and the tender steak.