This cranberry beef soup is comforting with the right amount of tartness. Make this beef soup in your slow cooker or electric pressure cooker (Instant Pot).
Let me start by saying that if you don’t like cranberries then this recipe is not for you. Cranberries are naturally tart and it was important to me to keep the essence of that flavor. In other words, there will be a bit of tartness. But it’s not that tart. I’ll explain below how to measure how tart your soup turns out.
Slow Cooker Cranberry & Beef Soup VIDEO:
What Type Of Beef To Use
I used beef stew meat. If you don’t have pre-cut stew meat, cut a roast into 1-inch chunks. I wanted this recipe to be a true, throw-it-in & set-it-and-forget-it recipe slow slow cooker recipe so for the slow cooker, searing the meat beforehand is listed as optional. For the electric pressure cooker, it’s an instruction.
I used red potatoes. They’ve been my go-to waxy potato for slow & pressure cooking as of late. Waxy potatoes work well in slow & pressure cooking because they hold their shape well thus less likely to turn to mush during the cooking process. Substitutes for red potatoes include fingerling potatoes or baby potatoes. All-purpose potatoes like russet potatoes or even sweet potatoes can also be used. IF you use a potato like russet or even sweet potatoes, I suggest you cut your potatoes into larger chunks than you usually would. This will help them hold their shape better.
This recipe went through three rounds of testing, mainly because it took me a few rounds to get the amount fresh cranberries correct. Knowing that cranberries are tart, I was very cautious using them. A little too cautious the first rounds, I could barely taste them. Then of course I used too much so I had to scale it back a bit. I think I found a happy medium. The recipe calls for a 12-ounce bag of fresh cranberries. Yes you can use frozen cranberries. For the video I used fresh cranberries that I pulled out my freezer and I cooked them straight from frozen. So I used frozen. When it’s done cooking, taste the broth. If you want a more cranberry (tart) flavor, take the back of a large spoon and mash some of the cranberries to release their juice. I do this in the video below.
Soup or Stew
I initially intended this to be a stew but I ended up using 7 cups of broth so technically this is a soup. A lot of people mislabel soups as stews. Heck I’m guilty of it, a lot of my stew recipes are actually soups. The main difference between the two is the amount of liquid used. In a stew, the food is barely covered with liquid. Soups are served in bowls, stew are served in plates. If you want to make this a stew, use 4-5 cups of broth instead of 7.
- 2 pounds beef stew meat
- 12 ounces fresh cranberries
- 1 pound potatoes, chopped
- 7 cups low-sodium beef broth
- 1/2 cup onion, chopped
- 3 medium size carrots, chopped
- 2 celery stalks, sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
- 1/2 teaspoons pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tbsp oil (for pressure cooker)
- Add all ingredients to the slow cooker. Stir to mix well.
- Cook HIGH 3-4 hours or LOW 6-8.
Electric Pressure Cooker
- Set pressure cooker to the high saute setting. Once hot, add oil.
- Add beef and cook a few minutes until browned. Remove beef from the pressure cooker and set aside.
- Add onions, carrots, & celery and cook 3-5 minutes until soft.
- Pour in broth and deglaze the bottom of the pressure cooker by scraping all the bits off with a wooden spoon. Stir in remaining ingredients.
- Add lid, close and seal vent. Select manual setting and set time for 25 minutes. When cook time is completed, natural release pressure 15 minutes then quick release any remaining pressure.
If you want a more cranberry (tart) flavor, when the soup is done cooking, take the back of a large spoon and mash some of the cranberries to release their juice.
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