Easy Instant Pot and Stove Top Bosnian Bey’s Soup

Horizontal view of the Bey's soup served in bowls.

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Traditionally served on holidays and festivities, this Bosnian Bey’s soup aka Begova corba is easy to cook on the stovetop or Instant Pot and makes a nutritious dish any ordinary day. Slow-cooked chicken, carrots, celery, potato, and okra boil into a creamy bisque, often served as a warm first course.

 

Three serving bowls of Bosnian Bey's soup with bread and lemon on a wooden background.

 

Ordinarily, Bey’s soup is thickened with egg and sour cream, but I have an aversion to eggs in soups unless they’re already hard-boiled as in the Polish white borscht. Hence, you won’t see me slurping on egg drop soup. Yuck. 🤢

 

Another option is to thicken it with a light roux or rice. In this recipe, its creaminess comes from cooked potato and carrot that are then pureed. In each version, okra is a staple ingredient as well as sour cream.

 

Ingredients for Bosnian Bey’s soup

 

These are the simple ingredients you’ll need to make this nourishing dish:

 

  • Chicken
  • Potato
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Okra
  • Sour Cream
  • Lemon Juice
  • Parsley
  • Bay Leaf
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Water or chicken stock

 

Overhead view of the main serving bowl with Bey's soup and crusty bread slices.

 

What is Bey?

 

Bey (Beg in Bosnian) is a title applied to the leaders or rulers of various districts or provinces in the Ottoman Empire. Bosnia, among other countries, was under the Ottoman Empire for over 400 years.

 

At that time, these now simple ingredients weren’t readily available to common folk and peasants. In short, the soup was fit for a King or Bey. To this day, we use the term “like a Bey” somewhat in the same capacity as the term “like a boss” is used here.

 

How to make Bosnian Bey's Soup aka Begova Corba in an Instant Pot and on the stovetop. #soup #instantpot #begovacorba #easyClick to Tweet

 

Here’s why you’re going to love this soup:

 

  1. It is easy to make.
  2. It nourishes.
  3. You can make it in the Instant Pot, slow cooker or on the stovetop.
  4. The ingredients for the Begove corba are affordable and straightforward.
  5. It’s delicious and kid-approved.
  6. This Bosnian soup is excellent as an appetizer or a main dish.

 

Close up view of served Bey's soup.

 

Frequently asked questions:

 

1. DO I HAVE TO USE OKRA?

 

You don’t HAVE to use okra. However, the soup will not have the same taste. Although only a handful of okra goes into it, it’s essential in creating its unique flavor.

 

2. CAN I MAKE BEY’S SOUP AHEAD OF TIME?

 

Yes, yes you can, but only partially. This soup is best when served fresh. But you can prepare the broth the day before by cooking the chicken and vegetables. Then finish it the next day by simply heating the broth and continuing per the recipe below.

 

Close up of a bowl of soup with spoon and piece of bread.

 

Techniques for making Begova corba:

 

Both techniques are similar, and the only difference is the cooking time. *Detailed instructions in the recipe card below.

 

Instant Pot

  1. To the inner pot, add the oil and layer chicken, potato, carrot, celery, onion, garlic, parsley, bay leaf, peppercorns, and salt. Pour in water and close and lock the lid. Select the “Soup/Broth” to 25 minutes.
  2. Strain the broth, mash half the vegetables, shred the chicken, chop the other half of the vegetables and return it all to the pot.
  3. Add okra and turn the pot to “Sauté.” Simmer for 10-15 minutes. Whisk in the sour cream and serve immediately.

 

Stove Top

  1. To the Dutch oven or stockpot, add the oil and layer chicken, potato, carrot, celery, onion, garlic, parsley, bay leaf, peppercorns, and salt. Pour in water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Lower the temperature and cook for 1 hour.
  2. Strain the broth, mash half the vegetables, shred the chicken, chop the other half of the vegetables and return it all to the pot.
  3. Add okra and cook 15 minutes longer. Whisk in the sour cream and serve immediately.

 

Four steps of how to make Bey's soup in an Instant pot, including ingredients

 

Recipe notes/Pro tips:

 

  • Use frozen, small whole okra pods. If you can’t find frozen, you can use fresh or dried okra, however, to reduce its sliminess, soak the okra in vinegar for half an hour or boil in water with a teaspoon of lemon juice. Rinse the okra in cold water before adding it to the pot. If the okra pods are large, cut the stems and slice the pods into ½-inch pieces.
  • Skin-on and bone-in chicken make the soup more flavorful. However, I prefer boneless and skinless for easier preparation. That being said, plain chicken breast is not suited for use in this recipe.
  • If drops of liquid or foam start to emerge from the pressure release valve on the Instant Pot, simply switch the valve back to the “Sealed” position and use an “Intermittent Pressure Release.”
  • To thicken the soup using the egg method, omit the potato and mix the whole egg or two egg yolks with sour cream and stir into the soup during the last five minutes of cooking.
  • To thicken with a roux, melt two tablespoons butter in a small pan and add one tablespoon all-purpose flour. Stir until the flour begins to “sweat” then add it to the soup; simmer for 10 minutes or until it thickens.
  • Serve the soup with crusty bread.

 

 

If you like okra, try this recipe:

 

MEDITERRANEAN OKRA STEW

 

3/4 view of served soup in brown bowls with spoons

 

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ESSENTIALS

for Bosnian Bey’s Soup


 

 

A spoonful of soup dipped into the bowl showing chicken, carrot, and okra.

 


Overhead view of the main serving bowl with Bey's soup and crusty bread slices.
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Instant Pot and Stove Top Bosnian Bey's Soup

This creamy, nourishing soup, made with chicken and vegetables including okra is fit for a king and easy to make on the stovetop, Instant Pot or slow cooker.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time35 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Bosnian
Servings: 4
Author: Jas

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pound chicken thighs boneless, skinless
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 small potatoes quartered
  • 1 large carrot cut into half
  • 2 celery stalks or one small celery root
  • 1 onion halved
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt or Vegeta
  • 1/3 cup frozen okra
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream

DIRECTIONS:

Instant Pot

  • To the inner pot of your pressure cooker, add 2 tablespoons oil. Layer 1 pound chicken thighs, 2 small quartered potatoes, 1 large carrot (halved), 2 celery stalks, 1 halved onion, 2 garlic cloves, a bunch of parsley leaves, 1 bay leaf, 1/2 tablespoons black peppercorns, and 1/2 tablespoon salt or Vegeta. Pour in enough water (or chicken stock) to cover by 1-2 inches and close and lock the lid. Select the "Soup/Broth" or "Manual" and set the timer (+/- button) to 25 minutes.
  • Open the lid using quick-release: turn the steam release handle on the lid from "Sealing" to the "Venting" position.
  • Strain the broth. Puree half of the vegetables using an immersion blender, food processor or a potato masher/ricer. Shred or cut the cooked chicken and chop the carrots and potatoes into small pieces and return to the pot.
  • Add frozen okra and turn the pot to "Sauté." Cook for 10-15 minutes longer or until okra is cooked through; adjust the seasoning. Whisk in the sour cream and serve the soup immediately, garnished with chopped parsley.

Stove Top

  • To the Dutch oven or stockpot, add the oil and layer chicken, potato, carrot, celery, onion, garlic, parsley, bay leaf, peppercorns, and salt or Vegeta. Pour in water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Lower the temperature and cook the soup for 1 hour. 
  • Strain the broth. Puree half of the vegetables using an immersion blender, food processor or a potato masher/ricer. Shred or cut the cooked chicken and chop the carrots and potatoes into small pieces and return to the pot.
  • Add frozen okra and cook for 10-15 minutes longer or until okra is cooked through; adjust the seasoning. Whisk in the sour cream and serve the soup immediately, garnished with chopped parsley.

RECIPE NOTES:

  • Use frozen, small whole okra pods. If you can't find frozen, you can use fresh or dried okra, however, to reduce its sliminess, soak the okra in vinegar for half an hour or boil in water with a teaspoon of lemon juice. Rinse the okra in cold water before adding it to the pot. If the okra pods are large, cut the stems and slice the pods into ½-inch pieces.
  • Skin-on and bone-in chicken make the soup more flavorful. However, I prefer boneless and skinless for easier preparation. That being said, plain chicken breast is not suited for use in this recipe.
  • If drops of liquid or foam start to emerge from the pressure release valve on the Instant Pot, simply switch the valve back to the "Sealed" position and use an "Intermittent Pressure Release."
  • To thicken the soup using the egg method, omit the potato and mix the whole egg or two egg yolks with sour cream and stir into the soup during the last five minutes of cooking.
  • To thicken with a roux, melt two tablespoons butter in a small pan and add one tablespoon all-purpose flour. Stir until the flour begins to "sweat" then add it to the soup; simmer for 10 minutes or until it thickens.
  • Serve the soup with crusty bread.
Tried this recipe?Snap a photo and mention @all_thats_jas or tag #allthatsjas on Instagram for a chance to be featured!

NUTRITIONS:

Nutrition Facts
Instant Pot and Stove Top Bosnian Bey's Soup
Amount Per Serving
Calories 418 Calories from Fat 243
% Daily Value*
Fat 27g42%
Saturated Fat 6g30%
Cholesterol 115mg38%
Sodium 991mg41%
Potassium 832mg24%
Carbohydrates 20g7%
Fiber 4g16%
Sugar 2g2%
Protein 22g44%
Vitamin A 2765IU55%
Vitamin C 17.5mg21%
Calcium 83mg8%
Iron 4.6mg26%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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4 Comment

  1. Reply
    Lulu
    April 2, 2020 at 11:12 am

    5 stars
    Hi Jas, Lulu the Californian in Split again. We’re really happy with this recipe since Begova is the soup of the gods and there is no place to find it in Split. I used all three thickening methods since I’m rebellious and used my beloved InstantPot (first time ever using the “Soup” button). Now I have a recipe to hold me over until I’m able to savor my favorite bowl at Druga Kuća in Sarajevo.

    Question about the recipe: how much water should I use? I estimated about 1.5 L.

    I don’t think I ever responded after my mac and cheese comment—my husband and I are semi-retired and were lured by the sea, his home in Sarajevo, and the possibility of me obtaining Croatian citizenship (I did). BTW: I have a soft spot in my heart for Banjalućani as we had a lot of them in the East Bay (some related to my husband). 🙂

    1. Reply
      Jas
      April 2, 2020 at 5:50 pm

      Hi, Lulu! First, congratulations on your Domovnica! ❤
      Thank you for trying our recipe. Your estimation is correct. You want to cover the ingredients by 1 or 2 inches. Sorry, I missed mentioning that in the instructions (fixed now).
      So glad to hear you’re having a good time there, but you’re making me homesick, lol. Hope you’re also staying safe and healthy.
      Greetings from warm Indiana. 🙂

  2. Reply
    Ron
    April 24, 2019 at 3:36 am

    Jas, I’m always on a lookout for a good soup and your Begova corba sounds great. We love okra and celeriac is always in our veg cooler, so this will suit us well. We have a spring cool spell coming up next week so I’ll be making a pot of this to have on hand for those cool nights. Why I might even try thickening it with an egg yolk and a dab of sour cream. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Reply
      Jas
      April 27, 2019 at 11:56 am

      We’re expecting a few inches of snow tonight and soups are definitely on my menu. This one is super cozy. 🙂

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