I’m really picky about my kitchen gadgets. My main criteria is, If it doesn’t make things easier, what is the point? I’ve looked at gadgets that have so many pieces and parts and blades and covers, that it would take an hour just to wash all that stuff, let alone put it all away again – and I don’t know about you, but my kitchen is not one of these Rachel Ray Galleria Mall things. I have to be very judicious on what I buy, with an eye on where it’s going to live.
That’s why, when the Instant Pot craze took over various social media, I waited and watched. I read reviews. I asked friends who owned them what they thought. And for a while, things were mixed. Some people loved them, some rarely used them. I figured that’s probably normal for this kind of thing.
Over time, things seemed to settle down. I remember a conversation with my good friend Deb, an Instant Pot owner, who just raved about hers. It seemed she always had a new recipe to share that had turned out well, and so very quickly. And then when they went on sale on Amazon a while ago, I finally decided to give it a go. I moved my old basic pressure cooker out to a shelf in the garage, and now my Instant Pot sits on the counter next to the toaster oven.
As I’ve used it more, I can say it definitely makes things easier. Cleaning is simple. It lives on the counter, so storage isn’t a problem for me. And it’s something I actually do use regularly. Even for just the two of us, it’s easy and handy.
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- 20 cups cooked rice (10 cups uncooked) capacity
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- LED countdown & delay timer
- Easy-clean removable inner lid
- Rice rinsing steam basket & paddle
* INSTANT POT is a registered trademark of Instant Brands Inc. Use of the mark does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by Instant Brands Inc.
Take this Beef and Barley Soup recipe. On the stove top it would take probably a couple of hours. But in the Instant Pot, even with the cool-down it takes about 30 minutes. This recipe came out rich with beef flavor and just the right amount of barley. I like soup to be soup – not gruel! And this is just that!
You can mix it up with the veggies you have on hand. Denser root vegetables are better – so potatoes, carrots, turnips are all a go. You can mix in lighter vegetables, like frozen green beans, after the pressure cycle is done.
For a stove-top or crock pot version, the recipe is the same except you’ll need to simmer for 90 minutes or until the carrots and potatoes are tender.
Instant Pot Beef and Barley Soup
- Instant Pot
- 2 lbs Beef Chuck Cubed
- 4 tsp Olive Oil divided
- 1 med Onion diced
- 3 stalk Celery sliced
- 2 clove Garlic minced
- 2 cups Carrots sliced in rounds
- 1 can Tomatoes diced, 15 oz
- 3 med Potatoes cubed or chunks
- 2/3 cup Pearl Barley
- 6 cups Beef Broth
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1/8 tsp Black Pepper
- 1 tsp Ground Thyme or 2 sprigs fresh
- 1 Bay leaf
- Season beef cubes with salt and pepper.
- Heat 2 tsp oil in the Instant Pot using "Saute" setting on medium. Brown the beef in about 4 batches, setting aside when browned.
- Add remaining oil and saute the onions and celery until translucent. Add garlic and cook for a few seconds. Add remaining ingredients, stir together
- Add remaining ingredients, stir together, place the lid and set the valve to "Seal." Cook on High Pressure for 15 minutes. Let it cool down for 15 minutes, then use the quick release to vent remaining steam.
As the days get chillier, give this quick and easy Beef and Barley Soup a try.