Instant Pot Pastele Stew

This comforting Puerto Rican-inspired Hawaiian stew tastes like it was cooked all day with a little help from the quick-cooking Instant Pot. Tender braised pork infused with tomato, aromatic spices, cilantro, hot chili, and black olives will fill your home with an intoxicating aroma and leave you deliciously satisfied.


  • 2 pounds pork butt, cut into small cubes
  • 1/4 cup achiote oil*
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 2 stalks celery, diced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced (about 2 1/2 cups)
  • 5 large cloves of garlic, chopped (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1 to 3 Hawaiian hot chilis, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped + more to garnish
  • 1, 6 ounce can tomato paste
  • 1, 6 ounce can pitted black olives, drained
  • 2 cups chicken broth or water
  • 1, 15 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • Hawaiian salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

*To make your own achiote oil, combine 1/4 vegetable oil and 1 tablespoon of achiote seeds in a small pot. Cook over medium heat until fragrant and red, about 5 to 8 minutes. Carefully strain and discard achiote seeds.


Step 1

Set a 6-quart Instant Pot to the sauté setting and allow to pre-heat. Meanwhile, season pork butt liberally with salt and pepper. Add achiote oil to the pot then carefully add pork butt and cook until browned, about 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Step 2

Next add bell pepper, celery, yellow onion, garlic, hot chilis, cumin, oregano, bay leaves, and cilantro, along with a good pinch of salt, and sauté until cooked down and aromatic, about 5 to 8 minutes. Then add tomato paste and cook for 1 to 2 minutes until brick red.

Step 3

Add the olives, chicken broth, and crushed tomatoes, and stir until well combined. Set Instant Pot to meat/stew setting for 35 minutes.

Step 4

Allow steam to fully release before opening. Garnish with additional cilantro if desired and serve immediately.