Russian Stew (Zharkoye)

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These braised potatoes have been one of my favorite meals since childhood. Russian stew ( Zharkoye) is made all across Eastern Europe and is a staple in many homes. 

Russian stew in a large deep pan standing on a wooden board on white granite countertops

Russian stew is a hearty meal that is also comforting! Pair it with freshly baked sourdough bread…and oh my! It is so good!! This hearty stew couldn’t be simpler to make! This one-pot meal will leave you feeling full and satisfied, especially during a cold winter day! 

Zharkoye is a traditional Russian peasant food made of chopped root vegetables, and cubed meat. Any meat can be used and all of the ingredients are pan fried until a light golden brown and then cooked till tender. This is a wonderful ancient Russian dish that will surprise you by delicious taste and tempting aroma.

If you love Russian recipes (European recipes) make sure to check out these as well!

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Russian beef stew is a comforting meal that is made with simple ingredients you most likely already have in your pantry or can easily get at your local grocery store! This will quickly become one of your favorite stew recipes; as I am writing this recipe, I am craving this hearty beef stew. I often make this stew with either beef or pork. We prefer pork simply because it may be more flavorful and more tender, but I use beef as well! Depends on what I have in my freezer that week. 

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What kind of meat can you use? 

  • pork- country style pork
  • stew meat- beef
  • beef country style ribs
  • beef short ribs
  • chicken thighs
  • baby back ribs
ingredients laid out on white and grey countertops to make Russian stew

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs pork or beef stew meat  cut into 1″ cubes ( we prefer pork it is more flavorful)
  • 1 tbl tomato paste or tomato sauce 
  • 3 medium carrots
  • 2 small onions or 1 large
  • 2 bay leaf
  • 1 whole head of garlic
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 2 1/2 tsp of salt 
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill or fresh parsley
  • 1 1/2 lbs russet potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons oil ( pork fat, tallow, olive oil) 
  • 48 oz Chicken broth -1 1/2 cartons ( or you can also use beef broth or vegetable stock)
  • 2 bay leaves

Add two tablespoons of oil ( you can use any oil, I used pork tallow) over medium heat to a large deep skillet, then add cubed meat and season with 1 tsp salt and cracked 1/4 tsp black pepper. Sauté from both sides till all the sides are golden brown.  This will add flavor to the Russian stew. 

1 inch cubed meat sautéing in a deep skillet with lard till golden brown

Cut the onions in half, peel the skin and cut off the ends then slice it into thin slices. Add the onions to the sauteed meat and continue to cook together for 5 minutes. As the onions begin to sweat the bottom of the pan will begin to deglaze. 

Browned cubed beef in a deep skillet cooking with chopped onions

Peel then chop the carrots at a slight angle into 1 inch thick slices then add them into the pan. Next, add the tomato paste and give it a good mix. Then Pour the broth over the meat and vegetables then gently mix to combine everything, season with another 1/2 -1 tsp salt, then add more to your liking. Cut the top of the garlic head off to expose the garlic cloves and place it in the middle of the skillet. Add the bay leaf, cover it with a lid, and simmer it for 45 minutes to one hour or until the meat is tender and soft. 

Russian stew simmering in a deep skillet with the lid half way off the skillet

Peel and chop the potatoes into 1-inch cubes ( you can add the chopped potatoes into cold water so they do not turn brown while the meat is cooking)

Once the meat is done cooking add in the potatoes, mix it gently then add more broth to cover the potatoes if it needs it, the potatoes should mostly be covered by the broth. Taste for salt and pepper, cover the skillet with the lid and simmer for another 25 minutes or until the potatoes and carrots are fork tender. Open the lid and simmer for 10 minutes, this will allow the sauce to thicken as the liquids will start to evaporate. 

Russian stew in a deep skillet with a wooden spoon in it

Chop the fresh dill or fresh parsley then add it once you turn the heat off. Mix it in gently. Scoop a heaping serving in a bowl then top it of with a dollop of sour cream and a side of warm homemade sourdough bread, and enjoy this Russian stew! It is so delicious the whole family will love it, and I’m sure everyone will ask for seconds! 

My favorite way to eat this meal is with a side of pickles or a simple cabbage salad….mmmmm warm childhood memories of my grandmother making us this dish often for dinner!

You can make this recipe in the instant pot to make this a quick meal! 

Russian Stew (Zharkoye)

Course dinner
Cuisine european, russian, ukranian

Ingredients
  

  • 2 lbs pork or beef stew meat  cut into 1″ cubes ( we prefer pork it is more flavorful)
  • 1 1/2 lbs russet potatoes
  • 1 tbl tomato paste or tomato sauce
  • 3 medium carrots
  • 2 small onions or 1 large
  • 2  bay leaves
  • 1 whole head of garlic
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 2 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill or fresh parsley
  • 2 tbl oil ( pork fat, tallow, olive oil) 
  • 48 oz  Chicken broth -1 1/2 cartons ( or you can also use beef broth or vegetable stock)

Instructions
 

  • Add two tablespoons of oil ( you can use any oil, I used pork tallow) over medium heat to a large deep skillet, then add cubed meat and season with 1 tsp salt and cracked 1/4 tsp black pepper. Sauté from both sides till all the sides are golden brown.  This will add flavor to the Russian stew. 
  • Cut the onions in half, peel the skin, and cut off the ends, then slice it into thin slices. Add the onions to the sauteed meat and continue to cook together for 5 minutes. As the onions begin to sweat the bottom of the pan will begin to deglaze. 
    Peel then chop the carrots at a slight angle into 1 inch thick slices then add them into the pan. Next, add the tomato paste and give it a good mix. Then Pour the broth over the meat and vegetables then gently mix to combine everything, season with another 1/2 -1 tsp salt, then add more to your liking. Cut the top of the garlic head off to expose the garlic cloves and place it in the middle of the skillet. Add the bay leaf, cover it with a lid, and simmer it for 45 minutes to one hour or until the meat is tender and soft. 
  • Peel and chop the potatoes into 1-inch cubes ( you can add the chopped potatoes into cold water so they do not turn brown while the meat is cooking)
    Once the meat is done cooking add in the potatoes, mix it gently then add more broth to cover the potatoes if it needs it, the potatoes should mostly be covered by the broth. Taste for salt and pepper, cover the skillet with the lid and simmer for another 25 minutes or until the potatoes and carrots are fork tender. Open the lid and simmer for 10 minutes, this will allow the sauce to thicken as the liquids will start to evaporate. 
  • Chop the fresh dill or fresh parsley then add it once you turn the heat off. Mix it in gently. Scoop a heaping serving in a bowl then top it of with a dollop of sour cream and a side of warm homemade sourdough bread, and enjoy this Russian stew! It is so delicious the whole family will love it, and I’m sure everyone will ask for seconds!

Notes

What kind of meat can you use? 

  • pork- country style pork
  • stew meat- beef
  • beef country style ribs
  • beef short ribs
  • chicken thighs
  • baby back ribs
Keyword one pot dinner, stew

Instant pot option:

Turn on your instant pot to sauté on high heat, then add 2 tablespoons of oil and the meat seasoned with 1 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Brown the meat on all sides. 

Chop the onion the add it to the meat, as the onions begin to sweat the bottom on the instant pot will begin to deglaze. Scrape the bottom of the pan using a wooden spoon to scrape our all the bits of meat. 

Peel then chop the carrots at a slight angle into 1 inch thick slices then add them into the pan. Next, add the tomato paste and give it a good mix. Then Pour 32 oz of broth over the meat and vegetables then gently mix to combine everything, season with another 1/2 -1 tsp salt, then add more to your liking. Cut the top of the garlic head off to expose the garlic cloves and place it in the middle of the skillet. Add the bay leaf, cover with lid and set the lever to sealing position. Cook on manual high pressure 20 minutes with manual pressure release.

Peel and chop the potatoes into 1-inch cubes ( you can add the chopped potatoes into cold water so they do not turn brown while the meat is cooking)

Once the meat is done cooking add in the potatoes, mix it gently. Taste for salt and pepper, close it with the lid once again, set the lever to sealing position and cook on manual high pressure for 15 minutes. Quick release remaining pressure. Open the lid then add chopped fresh dill or parsley then sprinkle it on top of the Russian stew. Scoop a heaping serving in a bowl then top it of with a dollop of sour cream and a side of warm homemade sourdough bread, and enjoy this Russian stew! It is so delicious the whole family will love it, and I’m sure everyone will ask for seconds! 

Tips for Using an Instant Pot:

First-time users: always read the users manual for your specific instant pot prior to starting since your machine may not operate or look exactly like ours.

  • Make sure the rim and rubber seal on your instant pot are clean for the seal to form properly.
  • Remember to set your lever to the stealing position for pressure to build.
  • When manually releasing pressure, wear an oven mitt and keep your face away from the hot steam vent.
  • I keep a paper towel ready to shield the vent in case it sputters liquid while venting/releasing pressure.
  • Always check the pressure indicator on your machine to ensure that the pressure has fully released prior to opening the lid.

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