“Beef brisket soup? That sounds goooood” said my dental hygienist. “Uhnhuh” I gargled back. It was the usual dentist office conversation - get asked a question (What am I cooking right now? “Instant Pot Beef Brisket Soup”) and then try to carry my side of the conversation with a mouth full of dental tools.
But my hygenist is right - this soup is gooood. (I could hear the extra O’s when she said it). The key is homemade beef broth. Yes, you can use store-bought beef broth, but the difference between homemade and store-bought is dramatic. Homemade broth is pressure cooking’s killer feature. Take the time, at least once, to make broth in your Instant pot, and you’ll see what you’re missing. I make a big batch of broth on a lazy Sunday afternoon, and freeze the results. Then I’m stocked up for soup1, and can hurry through the rest of this recipe on a busy weeknight.
(And, if you’re really into it, you can make homemade hominy, like I did last week.)
Brisket is a tough piece of meat with a lot of flavor. The key to tenderizing brisket is cutting it against the grain into thin, bite-sized pieces. Then, with the help of the pressure cooker, we get a soup with big, beefy, Southwestern flavor.Print
Instant Pot Beef Brisket Soup, with homemade pressure cooker beef broth. A warming soup with big, beefy, southwestern flavor.
- 3 pounds beef bones (or beef soup bones)
- 1½ pounds meaty beef shanks (or oxtail, or short ribs – you want cheap beef, on the bone)
- 6-ounce can tomato paste
- 2 medium onions, peeled and halved
- 1 head garlic, top ⅓rd trimmed off
- 2 carrots, peeled
- 2 stalks celery, trimmed
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 10 peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 bay leaves
- Water to cover (8 to 12 cups)
Beef Brisket Soup
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 2 pounds beef brisket flat, cut into 2-inch by ½-inch thick slices
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (or ½ teaspoon dried thyme)
- 8 cups homemade beef broth (from above) or store-bought
- 15-ounce can of hominy, drained (or 2 cups homemade hominy)
- 10-ounce can diced tomatoes and green chillies (ro*tel tomatoes)
- ½ cup ditalini pasta (or other small pasta shape)
- 2 large carrots, cut into ½-inch thick rounds
- 1½ teaspoons fine sea salt (if using homemade broth)
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- Juice of 1 lime
- Minced green onion for garnish
- Make the Beef Broth: Heat the oven to 425°F. In a large roasting pan, rub the tomato paste over the beef bones and beef shanks. Add the onions, garlic, carrots and celery to the pan. Put the pan in the oven and roast for 30 minutes. Turn the beef and aromatics and roast for another 15 to 30 minutes, until the beef and aromatics are browned. Scrape everything from the roasting pan into the pressure cooker pot. Add the thyme and peppercorns to the pot and cover the bones with water – 8 to 12 cups of water, or to the pot’s max fill line. Lock the lid and pressure cook on high pressure (“Manual” or “Pressure Cook” mode set to high in an Instant Pot) for 75 minutes, or for 1 hour in a stovetop PC. Let the pressure come down naturally, about 40 more minutes. (The water holds a lot of heat, so it takes a while for the pressure to drop. If you get impatient, you can quick release the remaining heat after 20 minutes.) Scoop the solids out of the pot with a slotted spoon, then pour the broth through a fine mesh strainer. Skim the fat from the top of the broth as best you can. (This is easy if you refrigerate the broth overnight; the fat rises to the top and solidifies, so you can scrape it off in big chunks). Use 8 cups of the broth in this recipe, and freeze the rest of the broth in 2 cup containers for later use.
- Brown the beef (for the soup): Wipe out the pressure cooker pot, then put it back in the base and set the Instant Pot to sauté mode adjusted to high (medium-high heat). Add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil to the pot and heat until shimmering, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle the sliced beef with ½ teaspoon of salt. Put half the beef slices in the pot - don’t crowd them - and brown the beef on one side, about 4 minutes. Transfer the browned beef to a bowl, add the rest of the beef slices to the pot, and brown on one side, about 4 more minutes. Move the browned beef to the bowl.
- Sauté the aromatics: Add the onion and garlic to the pot, and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon of salt and the fresh thyme. Sauté until the onion turns translucent, about 3 minutes, occasionally scraping the bottom of the pot with a flat-edged wooden spoon to work loose any bits of browned beef.
- Pressure Cook on high for 10 minutes with a Natural Pressure Release: Add the browned beef and any juices into the pressure cooker pot. Pour in 8 cups of beef broth, and scrape the bottom of the pot with a flat-edged wooden spoon to loosen any stuck bits of beef or onion. Stir in the drained hominy, diced tomatoes and chillies, pasta, sliced carrots, and 1½ teaspoons of salt. Lock the lid, and pressure cook on high pressure (“manual” or “pressure cook” mode in an Instant Pot) for 10 minutes. (The time is the same for a stovetop pressure cooker.) Let the pressure come down naturally for at least 15 minutes; it will take 20 to 30 minutes for a complete natural pressure release. If you’re in a hurry, you can quick release any remaining pressure after 15 minutes.
- Season and serve: Unlock the lid, turning it away from you to avoid the hot steam. Stir in the fresh ground black pepper and lime juice, serve, and enjoy!
- Make Ahead: Beef broth freezes beautifully. Finish the “make the beef broth step”, then store the broth in the refrigerator overnight. The next day, scrape the fat cap off the top of the broth and freeze the broth in 2 cup containers. (I use pint canning jars with storage caps.) When it’s time to make the soup, I thaw the canning jars in the microwave (lids removed!) while I start making the recipe. I add the thawed broth at the “add the broth” step. It’s OK if the broth is still a bit frozen – the pressure cooker will finish thawing it out.
- Prep Time: 2 hours
- Cook Time: 50 minutes
- Category: Sunday Dinner
- Method: Pressure Cooker
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: Instant Pot Beef Brisket Soup, Pressure Cooker Beef Brisket Soup
What do you think?
Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.
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- Get it? “Stocked”? Broth…stock…ahem. Sorry. I’ll show myself out. ↩