Ham, Bean & Barley Soup

Happy Valentine's Day! You are probably planning something a bit on the fancy side today - enjoy the steaks and chocolates, friends - but tomorrow, winter will still be outside our doors and we'll be craving comfort food. It doesn't get much cozier than soup and when you have a pressure cooker, that can be yours with next to no effort.

This is one of my favorite soups because it embraces leftovers (can you say ham bone?), hearty ingredients (hello, dried beans and barley!), and gives you a chance to get creative with your vegetable choices. I have a lot of pureed ingredients (celeriac and butternut squash) because I swoon over a thick soup. You can use diced versions of both or use other vegetables in their place if you want something chunkier. You can use a different kind of pepper or just opt for some diced carrots or a handful of frozen corn. This is an excellent way to use vegetables that got a bit ignored. That potato that is just starting to sprout eyes? Peel it and toss it in. A bit of lonely fresh spinach in the crisper? Add it instead of peas at the end of the process. You get the idea.

I like to serve this soup with some crusty bread or fresh cast iron focaccia. Then your bowl can be truly empty when you're done eating and you'll leave none of this deliciousness to waste!

Ham, Bean & Barley Soup

  • 10 oz. dry white navy beans
  • 1 ham bone
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 (14.5 oz.) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • ⅔ cup pearled barley
  • 1 green pepper, cored and diced
  • 4 celery stalks, diced (or ⅔ cup celeriac puree)
  • ⅓ cup butternut squash or pumpkin puree
  • 1 onion, diced
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 2-3 cups diced ham meat
  • ½ c. frozen peas

Add all of the ingredients except the diced ham and peas to the Instant Pot and set it to manual mode on high pressure for 1 hour.

When the cycle is complete (after the pressure is naturally released and it is safe to open the lid), remove the ham bone and add the diced ham and frozen peas. Taste and season with salt and additional black pepper, if needed. This soup will thicken nicely as it cools!

  • Yields: 6-8 servings
  • Preparation Time: 90 minutes