Instant Pot: Beef and Barley Soup


JeffreyW makes mouths water with this photo of his Beef and Barley Soup (with bonus Foccacia recipe here)

For the stovetop version, click here.

It has been unseasonably warm here, but I still wanted soup. Checked the freezer and I had a cross-rib roast, that would do since there was not a secret stash of chuck roast tucked away. All the other ingredients were handy, so Beef and Barley soup was it.

I added a potato, diced small, just because.

Beef & Barley Vegetable Soup

  • olive oil
  • 1 lb chuck, cut into small cubes
  • 1/2 small onion, diced
  • 2 tsp crushed garlic
  • 14 oz of tomatoes (fresh or canned)
  • 8 cups of water (or water and vegetable broth**)
  • 12 oz sliced carrots (frozen ok)
  • 12 oz green beans (frozen ok)
  • 3 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 1/2 cup barley
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp salt (more as desired)
  • 2 bay leaves (remove before serving)

large saucepan

Heat oil in the instant pot on the sauté setting. Sauté onions for 1 minute, add beef and brown on all sides, add garlic and sauté for 1 minute making sure not to burn the garlic. Add remaining ingredients.  Set the pot to Soup/Stew setting and cook for 35 to 40 minutes, until barley is tender.  Use natural release method.

Serve with biscuits or cornbread.

**For vegetable broth,  I blend the tomatoes, and an additional 6 oz of carrots, 6 oz of green beans, 2 stalks of the celery, 1 cup water into a smooth puree, to make a hearty base for the soup.  I like the hearty stock.


It’s soup season, so here are a few more: Tomato Soup and Grilled CheeseChicken Tortilla Soup, and Minestrone with Tiny Meatballs



I said I made a big pot of chili. Chili cheese tots! Half a chili dog! What could be a better use of that old chili?

Why, a chili cheese half-dog with some fermented peppers! With chili cheese fries! More fermented peppers!

Oh, bother! A big limb broke off at the crotch of this Braford pear tree. We planted that tree not long after we took up residence.

We managed to get it cleaned up and deposited onto the brush pile. We try to add new material to the top but it’s getting tall enough that sometimes we slide a bit.

Here’s Ginger Boy

I’m breaking in a new phone, a Galaxy S10. It has the same 2X optical telephoto lens on the back that the S9+ has but in a smaller sized chassis. I used all of that 2X for the Ginger portrait because he gets nervous when I seem to be paying him too much attention. The Samsung interface of the Android OS has been tweaked some making finding certain settings a chore but the lens options are still in the same place.

Yeah, we’re tired of chili, too.

I think we’ll finish off the potato salad today. The three bean salad just grows with new cans of beans added every now and then. I drain the juices and make a new vinaigrette for it at least once a week.

I’m pretty sure they’re not mooning the camera but the tails make that determination difficult, so who knows?


I wanted to see how skin-on thighs would do in the air fryer, these did very well.  Dry them with paper towels, toss them in a bowl with smoked paprika, onion powder, granulated garlic, salt, and pepper.  I probably used some of the Aleppo pepper because I put it on everything now.  I started these with the skin down and flipped them halfway through.  Total cooking time was about 30+ minutes at 375°.Tender and juicy!  That’s the All American bbq sauce on the chicken.  Note the red specks of Aleppo pepper on the potato salad. Several months ago I put pineapple snack cups on the grocery list just so I could use the juice in the next batch of baked beans without opening a big can.  I remembered them in time, this time.  I did have to take the skillet out of the oven to stir the pineapple in.  I think it added a nice note to the flavor. Here’s Homerdammit! passing through.  Cheeseburger – pickle, onion, mustard – with a side of those baked beans with the pineapple bits, also potato salad and slaw.  Very good supper.  Dinner?  Have a preference?  Don’t say tea. Random raccoon.  Not sure why it’s upside down, maybe just showing off for the other teenaged rascals. We had such good luck with the thighs cooked in the toaster oven we went with the same seasonings.  I may have increased the granulated garlic.  Part of the reason I took this picture was to prove that I didn’t forget to line it with foil this time. I called these done after 25 minutes or so.  The wings started at room temp and iirc the cooking temp was 380°.  Unsure of the times but I think total was less than 30 minutes with a flip halfway through,  I was cooking to temp, they say 165° to be safe but I went more 180-ish.  There’s so little meat on a wing that the temps were hard to measure. We have reached an accommodation, maybe.  Allows me to type this out at any rate.  Bitsy has been known to nip at fingers.

Air Fried Thighs

These were just OK.  I cut the boneless skinless thighs into nugget sizes, tossed them in oil, and then dredged them in seasoned flour.  They went into the fryer in a small tray, I cooked them at 350° until they looked done, about 25 minutes give or take.  They were turned over at the 15 minute mark.  The dip was ketchup, soy sauce, and some of the All American bbq sauce.
I think next time will involve a dip into an egg before the flour, maybe a double dip with panko.

Air Fried Chicken Wings

These turned out well.  I tossed the raw wings with a little oil and then dredged them in seasoned flour/breading mix and arranged them on a small rack/tray combo that came with the oven.  I set the air fryer for 375° for 15 minutes.  They were starting to get a fried chicken look to them but they weren’t done so I turned them all and set them going again, keeping an eye on their progress.  I checked them after 10 more minutes and the internal temps were indicating 190°-ish so I pulled them out.  I think I’m going to try the same thing on some thighs next.

Chicken Thighs for the Win

I think family packs of bone in chicken thighs with skin are the best deal going, day in – day out.Love that long roll of foil for a one piece cover of that tray.  I saw a guy on a cooking show mention it the other day.  I was all, “D-oh”!  Been right there on the shelf all along.

Pinto Beans

Mrs J wanted beans and cornbread.  She wanted pinto beans and went to the basement freezer to fetch some chunks of cured ham hock.  That was the hard part.  It was going to be up to the instant pot to have it ready from scratch in time for dinner.  Done in plenty of time.  I set it for manual cook on high for 81 minutes and it was just right.  I minced peppers and a big onion to add to the beans and all the usual powders and herbs.After all these years I’m still reading the recipe on the canister of corn meal.  Maybe it’s because of all those years I’m still reading it.

Fermented Chilies

I decided to go with a basic recipe for the fermenting- chop up veggies and submerge them under brine for a week on the counter.I used cayenne, serrano, and jalapeno peppers as the base and a head of garlic with a half a big onion for flavor.A rule of thumb for adding salt to the brine for lacto-fermentation is 1-3 tablespoons of salt to 1 quart of water.  I went with 3 T of kosher salt, at the high end because the grains are so coarse.

Now we wait.