Comforting Beef Barley Soup (Instant Pot)
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A simple beef barley soup made in the instant pot (pressure cooker). The beef is tender, veggies are perfectly cooked, and the barley is al-dente. It’s seriously the simplest, most delicious soup. And it’s healthy too!
Feeling all the fall feels with the coziest, warm beef barley soup.
And yes, technically we’re still a few days away from the actual fall season. But are we really counting? I’m totally already there. Bring on the fuzzy socks, the oversized sweaters, the extra hot pumpkin spice lattes, and large, overflowing bowls of cozy soup and let me enjoy all my fall favorites for the rest of the year. ❤️
This is fall comfort food done right. Because i’m not just talking about any old boring beef barley soup. I’m talk about the kind of soup that hits all the perfect warm and cozy notes with spoonfuls of flavorful broth, tender beef, lots of veggies, and al-dente barley. It’ll stick to your ribs, give your insides a big hug, and leave your belly extra happy.
There isn’t a single thing I don’t love about food like dis. ??????
If I haven’t said it enough, let me say it again for the umpteenth time — fall is my most favoritest season EVER. Mainly because the world turns beautiful hues of reds, oranges and yellow. But also because it’s officially time for everyone to get out there slow cookers for — SOUP SEASON. Which means gimme all the veggies// fiber-full grains// beans// legumes// protein and let me make you a big pot of slow cooked, rustic style soup.
What makes this soup recipe 1000x times better is that we’re making it in the instant pot so really you’re getting a soup that tastes like it’s been slow-simmered all day long without actually cooking it for a million hours. And yes, you sure can cook this recipe all day long if you really want to but do you really want to? My instant pot is seriously my new bff.
During Amazon Prime Day this year they had a deal on the Instant Pot that was just too good for anyone to pass up. It took me 3 whole seconds to decide that yes indeed, I did need another kitchen gadget and to hit the BUY NOW button. Slow cooker, pressure cooker, steamer, yogurt maker all-in-one. What? Do I actually need a yogurt maker? Heck no. Can I say I have one when the zombie apocalypse hits? Oh yeah.
To no ones surprise, the box sat in the laundry room unopened until a week ago when I went it to reorganize a bit. And there, still in it’s original box was the instant pot. And since [re]discovering it i’ve cooked most of our meals in this little gadget.
It all starts with browning the meat — yup, right in the instant pot. Cleaning just a single cooking vessel has never been so satisfying. Though the browning is optional, I highly suggest it as it really makes a better soup. Once the meat is done, we’re going to brown mushrooms too. Because we know that this helps pick up all the little brown bits the meat left behind and it generously gives the mushrooms a little boost in the flavor department. Now add the onions, celery and carrots and let them sweat a bit. Relax, let the instant pot do it’s thing. They’ll pick up all the flavors left behind in the pot from the beef and the mushroom. We’re building flavors here. One ingredient at a time.
And when the veggies have softened a bit, we add the beef, mushroom, a little bit of thyme, and a couple of bay leaves along with the beef broth. If you’ve got a pressure cooker//instant pot, this will take just 15 minutes to soften the stew meat all the way through, if you’re doing this in the slow cooker let it hang out and cook on high for 3 hours or on low for a good 6.
And just before you’re ready to eat, add the shredded potatoes and rinsed pearl barley and let it cook for another hour on the high setting. The smells. ♨️♨️ Tender chunks of beef, warm broth scented with garlic, onions, and thyme. It’ll make the whole house smell like fall.
And before you sit down with a bowl of beef barley soup don’t forget to get out the loaf of crusty bread that you’ve reheated in the oven or better yet make your own because what is soup without bread to dip and sop up all that flavorful beef broth?
And when you’re contemplating whether or not you really need a second bowl, don’t think. Grab the laddle and be generous to yourself.
You deserve it.
PS – Up until recently, I’ve always used diced potatoes in my beef barley soup but the shredded potatoes is a little trick I picked up from The Food Charlatan and it’s seriously the best thing in this soup!
PPS – I highly, highly recommend the instant pot for you/the cook in your life (hello early christmas present!) I’m lovin’ it and am definitely planning on sharing more instant pot recipes in the near future!
- 1 ½ pounds stew meat
- salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 10 baby bella mushrooms, quartered
- 3 cups mirepoix (just a combination of chopped onion, celery, and carrots)
- 6-8 cloves garlic, minced
- 6 cups low sodium beef broth (or vegetable)
- 1 cup water
- 2 bay leaves
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 large potato, shredded (using a food processor or grater)
- 2/3 cup pearl barley, rinsed
- Season the stew meat with a good pinch of salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large pot or in the instant pot over medium-high heat. Add ½ the stew meat and brown on all sides for about 2-3 minutes total. Remove meat to a plate and repeat with the second batch and the second tablespoon of oil.
- Add the mushroom to the pot and brown the mushrooms for 1-2 minutes or until they start picking up the brown bits left behind by the meat. Remove the mushrooms to the same plate as the stew meat.
- If needed, add a little more oil to the pot and the mirepoix mix. Cook the veggies for 4-5 minutes or until the onions soften and become translucent. Add the garlic and cook for an additional 30 seconds.
- SLOW COOKER: Add the softened veggies, stew meat, mushrooms, bay leaves, dried thyme, water, and beef broth to the slow cooker and allow the soup to cook on the high setting for 3 hours or on the low setting for 6 hours.
- INSTANT POT: Add the stew meat, mushrooms, bay leaves, dried thyme, water, and beef broth the to sautéed veggies in the instant pot, cover and pressure cook the meat for 13-16 minutes depending on the size of the stew meat. Allow the pressure to release before removing the lid.
- BOTH METHODS: Add the shredded potatoes and the barley and allow the soup to cook on the high setting (for the instant pot you hit the slow cook button) for 1 hour or until the potatoes and barley cook through. Season with additional seasonings to taste. Serve warm with chopped parsley on top and a loaf of crusty bread or crackers.
- Sometimes I like to spice things up by adding a little pinch of red pepper flakes along with the dried thyme too but this is purely optional.
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Nutritional content based on 8 servings.
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