Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Beef and Barley Stew

This Christmas one of my favourite Christmas gifts from my husband was an Instant Pot. It's a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, sauté pan, steamer and stockpot warmer all in one and it's AWESOME! This isn't meant to be an ad for the pot so I'll just say that I totally love it and leave it at that.

I can cook meals quickly and efficiently using the pressure cooker feature, which comes in handy when I only have at most about an hour to get dinner on the table during the week. In the month and a half since Christmas I've already made a number of curries, stews, stocks, and risottos in a fraction of the usual stove-top time!

Most recently I made a very hearty beef and barley stew. It could be easily turned into a soup by adding extra chicken or beef stock at the end of cooking. The grownups of the family enjoyed it and I packed the leftovers for my lunches. Hubby added some sriracha sauce to his portion to spice it up a bit.

The kids on the other hand --who are usually suspicious of dishes where the ingredients are chopped small and all mixed together (since you never know what I might have tried hiding in there!)-- each took the required "no thank you" spoonful to taste, and opted for cheese omelets instead.

Beef and Barley Stew
Inspired by this one and Alton Brown's
  • 1 1/4 lbs lean ground beef
  • 1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes (or crushed if you don't like tomato chunks)
  • 2 1/2 cups beef stock 
  • 1/2 cup barley
  • 3 large carrot, sliced
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced
  • 1 large potato, cubed
  • 1 medium onion, diced 
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

  1. Brown the beef in the pressure cooker. Drain off the fat.
  2. Add the tomatoes, stock and barley. 
  3. Close pressure cooker and bring up to full pressure. Pressure cook for 10 minutes 
  4. While the soup is cooking, slice the carrots, peel and dice the potato and onion and mince the garlic.
  5. After the soup has cooked for 10 minutes, use the quick-release and add the vegetables, herbs, and salt and pepper to taste. (I didn't add any extra salt since my stock was already salty.)
  6. Seal the cooker and bring up to full pressure again. Pressure cook for another 10 minutes.
  7. Open using quick release method. 
  8. Add extra heated broth if you'd prefer a soup rather than a stew.


  1. Now I want an Instant Pot! My grandmother always cooked using a pressure cooker, but I've never used one. She could cook an entire beef roast in no time.

    1. Mmm! A pot roast is a great idea! I'm going to add that to my to-do list. Thanks :)