Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup

The end of February might hold the beginnings of spring for some, but in south-central Wisconsin, the snow is deep, the temperatures are low, and the winds can blow right through you if you aren't wearing at least 20 layers. That might be a bit of an overstatement, but late February tends to have us all fighting cabin fever even in the best of years, which 2021 is definitely not.

But then there is delightful soup made easy in an Instant Pot. Hot and piping and filled with seared steak, brightly colored vegetables, and tender barley. A bowl of this can keep even February's chill at bay ... at least for a little while. Stick with the seasoning blend called for you and you are sure to have bite after flavorful bite of this quintessentially winter comfort food.

As for what to have to round out your meal, I'd suggest nothing more than a soft baguette to tear and use to sop up the last bites of this lovely soup and a blanket to help keep that newfound warmth from going away!

Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup

  • 2 pounds tenderized round steak, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 T. olive oil, divided
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • ¼ tsp. smoked paprika
  • ¼ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 T. tomato paste
  • 6 c. beef broth
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes (do not drain)
  • ⅔ c. pearl barley
  • 1 tsp. soy sauce
  • 2 carrots, shredded
  • 4 oz. fresh spinach

Season the round steak with salt and pepper.

Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pot of your Instant Pot; warm on the sauté setting until shimmering. Add half of the round steak and cook until browned on one side. Stir and continue cooking until the beef is well seared and brown on all sides, about 10 minutes.

Transfer the browned steak to a bowl using a slotted spoon; cover to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining beef and transfer to the bowl, keep warm.

Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil to the now empty Instant Pot. Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, until it starts to brown and caramelize, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic, thyme, smoked paprika, red pepper flakes, and tomato paste to the onions. Sauté for 1 minute or until the garlic is fragrant. Add one cup of the broth to deglaze the bottom of the pot scraping up any browned bits.

Add all of the browned steak, the remaining beef broth, diced tomatoes, and barley to the pot. Put the lid on the Instant Pot and turn to the locked position. Set the vent to sealing and cook on high pressure for 15 minutes. Allow a natural release of pressure for 15 minutes before turning the vent to release any remaining pressure. Remove the lid and add the soy sauce and shredded carrots; cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the fresh spinach. Serve and enjoy!

  • Yields: 6-8 large servings
  • Preparation Time: 1 hour