Beef Mushroom Barley Soup

A Hearty Beef Mushroom Barley Soup


I was looking for something hearty to make for dinner befitting this cool weather we’ve been having lately. The weather plummeted to 72 degrees today. But really, it has been getting down to the 50s at night, so it really is soup weather. I didn’t want to make chili again since I already had that  twice this week. I was pondering what to prepare while having a beer and for some reason it came to me, I will make something with barley it it!


Mushrooms are a natural and classic combination with barley. And I added beef to add even more to the heartiness and to make it a full meal. Just add some sort of bread and you’re set.


I used pre-cut stew beef because I am lazy, but chuck cut into cubes will work as well.

Heat 2 tablespoons cooking oil in pressure cooker on medium-high heat. I used the electric pressure cooker, so I used the Sauté setting on HIGH.


Next, brown the beef on one side, seasoning with salt and pepper while it is browning, then remove to plate. Browning just one side is enough to give it the browned flavor.

If there is a lot of fat from the meat, drain all but 2 tablespoons. Mine was pretty lean, so I didn’t drain at all.

Sauté some diced onion until translucent.


Add the Italian seasoning, paprika, salt, garlic powder and pepper. Stir it in with the onions and sauté for about 30 seconds.

Splash in a little wine to deglaze the pan, scraping up any brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Just a couple tablespoons of wine is plenty.


Add some frozen peas and carrots, sliced crimini mushrooms and barley.


Add the meat back into the pan then pour in some beef broth and a little water.


Toss the bay leaves on top.


Lock the cover on the pressure cooker, and set to high pressure for 18 minutes.

When time is up let pressure come down on its own for 10 minutes, then do a quick release.


Serve in bowls with crusty bread or corn bread.

Beef Mushroom Barley Soup
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: American
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 6 servings
A hearty soup perfect for a chilly winter night
  • 1 pound beef stew meat (or chuck cut into cubes)
  • 1 sweet onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon Italian herb mix (I used Penzey's Tuscan Sunset
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 splash red wine (a couple tablespoons, optional)
  • 8 ounces crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • 10 ounces frozen peas and carrots
  • ¾ cup pearl barley
  • 1 quart beef broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 bay leaves
  1. Heat 2 tablespoons cooking oil in pressure cooker on medium heat
  2. Brown beef on 1 side, seasoning with salt and pepper while it is browning, then remove to plate
  3. If there is a lot of fat from the meat, drain all but 2 tablespoons
  4. Sauté the onion until translucent
  5. Add the Italian seasoning, paprika, salt, garlic powder and pepper
  6. Continue to sauté for 30 seconds or so
  7. Splash in a little red wine to deglaze pan, scraping up any brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan
  8. Add frozen peas and carrots, mushrooms and barley
  9. Add the meat back into the pan
  10. Pour in beef broth and water
  11. Toss the bay leaves on top
  12. Lock cover on pressure cooker and set to high pressure for 18 minutes
  13. When time is up let pressure come down on its own for 10 minutes, then do a quick release
  14. Serve in bowls with crusty bread or corn bread


Pressure Cooker Black Bean Barley Salad

A Healthy, Warm Weather Meal

Black Bean Barley Salad Plated

Man, I really had to switch gears on this week’s recipe. My plans were to post a recipe for chowder, until the last several days saw the mercury climbing ever higher (yeah, I know that no thermometers use mercury any more, but I really like the sound of it). It was pushing 80 F by the time I unstuck myself from the sheets this morning (no air conditioning in the apartment). Even in the morning, while it was slightly cooler, I could not imagine myself eating chowder later in the day.

So, I decided that I must figure out how to use the pressure cooker to make a salad. After many hours of head-scratching and brow-furrowing I decided to make a salad with grains and beans, which of course, can be made in the pressure cooker.

Black Bean Barley Salad Ingredients

Cooking the barley and beans together, I was able to cut down on the time spent using appliances. And, using the Instant Pot it does not increase the temperature in the kitchen by any detectable amount.

Even so, it is probably a good idea to get the cooking part out of the way early while it is still relatively cool, then let it cool for awhile before you add in the other ingredients.

First, let’s just worry about getting the beans and barley ready. Yes, I know these days that there doesn’t seem to be any other grain besides quinoa, but I decided on barley. Beer is made from barley, and I like beer, so obviously barley is better than quinoa.

Barley Rinsing

I wasn’t able to try this a couple times before posting it, but fortunately it turned out pretty well.

Put 4 cups of water, 1 cup of beans and 1 cup of pearl barley in the pressure cooker along with 1/2 teaspoon of cumin and a bay leaf. For most dishes I would soak the beans overnight, but for this, I recommend just rinsing. For this, we want the beans to remain firm, not to break down like you would want for soup.

Chopped Veggies

Bring to high pressure and cook for 20 minutes.

When time is up, remove from heat, wait 10 minutes then do a quick release.

Let it cool while you go somewhere air-conditioned to have breakfast (at least, that’s what I did).

When you get back, chop and slice and whatnot the various vegetables, cheese and meat. Mix it in with the beans and barley.

Cheese Cubes

Now, let’s get to the dressing. In a blender or food processor, mix together the juice of 2 limes, 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, 2 tablespoons honey (if making a vegan version, you can sub agave nectar), 2 tablespoons of chopped cilantro, 1/2 teaspoon salt and some black pepper. Go ahead and blenderize (yes, blenderize!) that mixture and when it is smooth pour over the salad and mix together.

It is best to let the flavors blend, so pop it in the fridge and go to the local pub for a brewski while the flavors meld.

Black Bean Barley Salad Plated2

When you get home, remove the whole deal from the fridge, mix it up again, and serve it up.

Enjoy, and make sure you have some ice cream on hand for dessert!


Pressure Cooker Black Bean Barley Salad
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Latin
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 6 servings
For Salad
  • I cup Black Beans, rinsed
  • 1 cup Pearl Barley, rinsed
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper, chopped
  • ½ Red Onion, thinly sliced
  • 6 Radishes, thinly sliced
  • 4 ounces sliced Spanish Chorizo or Salami, slices cut into quarters (omit for vegan or vegetarian option)
  • 6 ounces smoked gouda, cubed (omit for vegan option)
For Dressing
  • ½ cup Extra Virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • ½ Teaspoon Salt
  • Black Pepper to taste
For Salad
  1. Put beans and barley in pressure cooker pot
  2. Add 4 cups water, ½ teaspoon cumin and bay leaf
  3. Put top on pressure cooker and set for high pressure
  4. When high pressure is reached, set timer for 20 minutes
  5. When time is up, remove pressure cooker from heat
  6. Let pressure release naturally for 10 minutes, then do a quick release
  7. With slotted spoon or spider, remove beans and barley to bowl and let cool
  8. When mixture has cooled, add bell pepper, onion, radishes, cilantro, chorizo and cheese
  9. Mix everything together
For Dressing
  1. In blender or food processor, mix the olive oil, lime juice, vinegar, honey (substitute agave nectar if making a vegan version), cilantro, salt and pepper
  2. Blend until smooth
  3. Pour over salad, then mix everything together
  4. Refrigerate for an hour or so to let flavors meld


Pressure Cooker Lentil Barley Soup

This Red Lentil Barley Soup Recipe Makes a Hearty Meal


I got the idea of adding barley to lentils from a recipe on the back of the bag of lentils. I never would have thought of it without seeing it on the bag, although my recipe is quite different from the one on the bag.


A meal in itself, as they say. This fiber-packed soup with warming North African influenced spices is sure to keep you warm on a chilly night.

I made this using my relatively new Instant Pot (this one right here), which I am liking more all the time, but should translate just fine to a stovetop model.

Barley_Lentil_Chopped_VegBut I must admit, I am having trouble getting very excited about waxing enthusiastically about a hearty, stick to your ribs soup today.

It is definitely not because this isn’t a really tasty soup, because it is quite tasty. It’s because today in SoCal we aren’t having quite what you would call “soup weather’.

As I am writing this on my phone, I am sitting in my local pub wearing shorts and a Hawaiian shirt with a cold one in front of me, just to get a break from my hot, non-air conditioned apartment.


When I cooked this earlier this week, it was a chilly, rainy day. Today it is 83 degrees with nary a cloud to be seen. Such is life in Southern California, but it is my job to bravely press on.


I myself am not a vegetarian (not that there’s anything wrong with that), so I used some chicken Better Than Bouillon that I already had on hand, but this can easily be made as a vegetarian or even vegan dish (just leave out the feta cheese at the end and Bob’s your uncle!)

Start out by sautéing the onions in a couple tablespoons of oil. When the onions start to become translucent, add the garlic to the party and continue to stir for a couple more minutes.

Now, add those carrots and the celery and sauté for a few minutes

Introduce the spices and sauté for another minute

Now it is time for the tomatoes, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce and a little salt and pepper (you can adjust these a bit later)

Add the water and Better Than Bouillon. You can substitute 4 cups of chicken stock or vegetable stock for four cups of the water to make a vegetarian or vegan version.

Toss in the bay leaves, place the top on the pressure cooker and bring to high pressure.

Set the timer for 18 minutes

When time is up, let the pressure come down naturally.


When pressure is released, remove top

If you have never worked with red lentils, be aware that they will break down completely, leaving a nice, thick stew-like soup.


I like to top it with a little crumbled Feta cheese, skip this step if you would like to make a vegan version.

Pressure Cooker Lentil-Barley Soup
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: American
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4-6 servings
Red Lentils, Barley and some North African spices make this warming soup perfect for a chilly weather dinner
  • 1 cup red lentils, sorted and rinsed
  • 1 cup pearl barley, rinsed
  • 2 carrots, peeled, cut in half lengthwise and sliced
  • 2 stalks celery, washed and sliced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 can tomatoes with green chiles (Such as Ro-Tel)
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon Better The Bouillon chicken flavor (you can substitute four cups of the water and the BTB with four cups of chicken or vegetable stock)
  • 2 bay leaves
  1. In pressure cooker pot over medium-high heat (or medium sauté setting on electric PC), in a couple tablespoons oil sauté the onions until they start to get translucent
  2. Add the garlic and cook for another minute or so
  3. Add the carrots and celery, continue to sauté for 2-3 minutes
  4. Put in the cumin, cinnamon, allspice, cayenne, coriander and ginger
  5. Stir for about 30 seconds
  6. Add the tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, lentils and barley and mix everything together
  7. Pour in the water
  8. Add the Better Than Bouillon and stir
  9. Toss in the bay leaves and cover the pressure cooker and bring to high pressure (if using electric PC, switch from Sauté to high pressure mode
  10. Set time for 18 minutes
  11. When time is up, let pressure come down on its own.
  12. Serve with a little crumbled feta on top


Sneak Peek – Lentil Barley Soup

Coming this weekend…



A spicy, zesty mix of Red Lentils, Barley and Vegetables. And, of course, the pressure cooker cuts down on time so you can even enjoy it on a weeknight! Check back this weekend for the recipe!