Fall comes, the leaves turn and at that first temperature drop, I seem to crave comfort food. I actually have a list. Well, not a formal one, but one in my head, and Beef & Barley Soup ranks high on that list.
And this Beef & Barley Soup is worth a place on any comfort food list. Tender chunks of beef, barley with its soft, yet slightly chewy texture, the rich broth. This isn’t a “back of the barley box” recipe. This is a real deal Beef & Barley Soup.
I do have a Beef & Barley Soup on my blog already and it’s delish. That recipe’s a bit of a shortcut method that I make with a doctored up broth and leftover pot roast, mostly because it’s so hard to find good soup bones where I live.
This time I lucked out & started with three short ribs that had a good amount of meat on them and totaled about a pound and a half; they were about an inch thick and four inches or so across and – surprise! They only ran $2.39 a pound. If that wasn’t an option, I’d use about a pound of chuck sliced into inch thick pieces, preferably the part of the chuck that has the bone.
And for this soup, I wanted to use my Instant Pot. Because I wanted my Beef & Barley Soup in a fraction of the time! And I got it in about an hour or so, start to finish.
Instant Pot Beef & Barley Soup
- 1 1/2 pounds of short ribs or about a pound of chuck, preferably bone-in, cut into slices around an inch thick
- salt & pepper
- 3 tablespoons oil, divided
- 3 large carrots, peeled and trimmed, cut into a small dice, peelings and trimmings reserved
- 3 stalks celery, well washed and diced, bottom and top reserved
- 1 large yellow onion, diced, peelings and ends reserved
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3/4 cup light red wine plus 1/4 cup water
- 2 quarts of chicken stock, low sodium preferred
- 1/4 teaspoon thyme (about 2 sprigs if using fresh)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup instant barley, rinsed
Set Instant Pot to Saute. Add 2 tablespoons of the oil. Pat beef dry and salt and pepper both sides generously. Add to Instant Pot (in batches if necessary) and saute until browned. Turn and saute the other side. Remove from Instant Pot and place on a large plate.
Add diced carrot, onion, & celery to the Instant Pot & cook, stirring and scraping up any browned bits from the bottom, until softened and lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook an additional minute, stirring. Remove vegetables to a bowl, to be added back in after the broth has finished cooking.
Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to Instant Pot and toss in the vegetable parings and trimmings. Stir until slightly browned (or until the bottom becomes dark). Add in the wine/water and scrape the fond off the bottom of the pan (use a wooden or plastic spatula) and cook until the wine simmers and the alcohol burns off, about three or four more minutes.
Add stock, thyme, bay leaf, and reserved beef along with any accumulated juices. Close and seal the Instant Pot, set to High Pressure for 30 minutes. When finished, release pressure with the quick release valve.
Remove the beef and set aside until cool enough to handle. Remove or strain the vegetable trimmings and parings and discard. Set the Instant Pot to Saute. Add the reserved, diced and browned vegetables back into the pot, and when pot comes to a boil, add in the one cup of rinsed Instant Barley. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes until Barley is tender.
Meanwhile, discard the beef bones and cut meat into bite-size chunks. Return to the Instant Pot. When barley is tender, taste and adjust seasonings, adding salt and pepper to taste.