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April 10, 2014

Beef barley soup recipe (pressure cooker or stove top)

Beef barley soup, made easy in the pressure cooker (or on the stove stop). #soup

Here in Rhode Island, the calendar says Spring, but the thermometer says Not Yet. I drive around looking for places where green might be peeking through, but until a few days ago, lingering patches of ice suppressed most of the crocuses, daffodils and fiddlehead ferns. The rainy, raw weather of early April puts me in the mood for soups like this traditional beef barley. I'm having a lot of fun learning how to use my first-ever electric pressure cooker, which is my new preferred method for making this soup, though I've included directions for making it on the stove. In the pressure cooker, the small chunks of beef and barley cook to perfect tenderness in just ten minutes at high pressure. Thick and chewy beef barley soup, a standard in New York delicatessens, has been a favorite of mine since childhood. This version is better than any you'll find in a deli. I promise.

Beef barley soup, a classic combination! #soup

Note: I use this 6-quart electric pressure cooker. If you have a stovetop pressure cooker, the timing might be different.

Beef barley soup (pressure cooker or stove top)

From the pantry, you'll need: barley, onion, chicken broth, dried thyme, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, fresh black pepper, olive oil.

Serves 6-8.

Ingredients

2 tsp olive oil
3/4 lb stew beef (chuck roast is great), cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 medium onion, diced
1/4 cup chopped celery
2 carrots, trimmed and diced
8 oz sliced mushrooms (I like cremini)
1 Tbsp dried thyme leaf
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp fresh black pepper
1 cup pearl barley, rinsed and drained
4 cups chicken broth (low-sodium store bought, or homemade) + 2 cups water

Directions (pressure cooker)

Set the pressure cooker to Browning. Heat the olive oil in the cooker, and add the beef. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is no longer pink, 3-4 minutes. Turn off the cooker, and scoop out the beef, leaving any excess oil in the pot.

Turn the cooker to Sauté. To the residual oil in the pot, add the onion, celery, carrots and mushrooms. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are translucent and the mushrooms have given off some of their liquid, 3-4 minutes. Add the thyme, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce and black pepper. Stir until the mixture is fragrant (1-2 minutes). Add the barley and liquid, and the beef. Turn off the cooker.

Lock the lid in place. Set the pressure cooker for High Pressure for 10 minutes. When the cooker beeps at the end of the cook time, use the Natural Pressure Release method, which will release the pressure in approximately 20 minutes.

When the pressure is released, pour the soup into individual serving bowls, and serve hot. Or, pack into freezer-safe containers. Let the soup cool completely before freezing.

Directions (stove top)

In a Dutch oven or heavy stock pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the beef. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is no longer pink, 3-4 minutes. Scoop out the beef, leaving any excess oil in the pot.

To the residual oil in the pot, add the onion, celery, carrots and mushrooms. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are translucent and the mushrooms have given off some of their liquid, 3-4 minutes. Add the thyme, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce and black pepper. Stir until the mixture is fragrant (1-2 minutes). Add the barley and liquid, and return the beef to the pot.

Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook for 30 minutes, or until the barley is soft and chewy. Stir occasionally to make sure the barley isn't sticking to the bottom of the pot. If necessary, add more water, 1/2 cup at a time, until the barley is completely cooked.

Serve hot.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]


More interesting ways to use barley:
Vegan barley and lentil pilaf with mushrooms and spinach
Barley, artichoke, sun-dried tomato and feta salad with zahtar dressing
Mushroom barley soup
Curried mushroom, green bean and barley soup

Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Beef and barley stew with mushrooms, from Simply Recipes
Chickpea, barley and zucchini ribbon salad with mint and feta, from The Kitchn
Chicken barley soup, from Kalyn's Kitchen
Toasted barley and shrimp salad, from Cookin' Canuck
Carrot barley galettes, from Chocolate & Zucchini

Disclosure: The Perfect Pantry earns a few pennies on purchases made through Amazon.com links in this post. Thank you for supporting this blog when you start your shopping here.

Comments

Maybe I missed it (it is rather early) but when do you add the beef back in on the stove top version?

Issa, you didn't miss it. I did! Thanks so much for catching the error; I've corrected the recipe now.

I love that this favorite soup can be made so quickly in the pressure cooker!

Kalyn, I've been making this soup for years, maybe even decades, and this pressure cooker version is the best ever.

I am absolutely making this soup soon. Glad you're loving your electric pressure cooker!

Barbara, I do love it, and I'm using your pressure cooker blog to teach me how to use it.

Aha! I have no slow cooker, no crock pot but I have been using a pressure cooker (so very French) for more than 25 years! And I love a great beef barley soup, love it any time of the year!

This works wonderfully! It gave me the push to replace a pressure cooker lost a few years ago after Hurricane Rita. I followed the recipe closely except I substituted beef stock for chicken, had a delicious meal and froze the leftovers for later.

MC

Jamie, I'm sure there's much you can teach me about how to use my pressure cooker. I'm over the fear of it, but still figuring out what it's best for. Thus far, I'm getting good at cooking beans and soup!

Mostly Cajun, so glad you tried this recipe already! I think any stock you have will work here, even vegetable stock, though beef stock would be great to bring out the flavor of the meat. It freezes beautifully, too.

Beef Barley soup immediately takes me back to my childhood when Campbell's canned beef barley soup was my go-to soup as a child! Thanks for this more 'grown-up' version!

I'll try this recipe on my new pressure cooker. ​Slow cookers and pots and pans just seem to cook away all the nutrients of the food, so I purchased a pressure cooker. I used http://www.cookwithpressure.com/ to help me pick.

Thank you for this recipe and very detail post. I'll try this with my cooker. I'm a pressure cooker lover :))

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  • My name is Lydia Walshin. From my log house kitchen in rural northwest Rhode Island, I share recipes that use what we keep in our pantries, the usual and not-so-usual ingredients that spice up our lives.

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