A Simple Mushroom Barley Soup

From Jeanette's Healthy Living

Cremini mushrooms are richer in flavor than white button mushrooms, but any mushrooms will do. Although the basic recipe is delicious on its own, I would encourage you to try some of the optional add-in's, especially the porcini mushrooms, tomato paste and soy sauce. These add another layer of flavor and richness to this soup. 

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 carrot, finely chopped

1 celery stalk, finely chopped

1 package (about 10 ounces) cremini mushrooms, sliced

1 cup barley

10-12 cups low sodium vegetable or chicken broth

1 teaspoon dried thyme or 2 sprigs fresh thyme

salt and pepper, to taste

Optional Add-Ins:

1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms, soaked in 2 cups water

3 cloves garlic, minced

3 tablespoons tomato paste

1 cup chopped tomatoes

1 teaspoon dried oregano

2 teaspoons soy sauce

1/2 cup fresh chopped parsley

a few splashes of sherry

  1. Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, celery, and mushrooms, and cook until vegetables are softened and mushrooms are a nice deep brown, about 10 minutes. 
  2. Add barley, 10 cups of stock, and thyme. 
  3. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, and cook, covered, until barley is tender, about 1 hour. Add more stock if soup is too thick. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

If you're using any of the add-ins, here are the modifications to the directions:

  • Add garlic in Step 1.
  • If using porcini mushrooms, reduce stock by two cups (use 8-10 cups stock). To prepare porcini mushrooms, soak in 2 cups of water for 20 minutes until softened. Strain soaking liquid and reserve for soup. Chop rehydrated porcini mushrooms into small pieces.Add porcini mushrooms, porcini soaking liquid, oregano, tomato paste, chopped tomatoes and soy sauce in Step 2.
  • Add parsley and a few splashes of sherry in Step 3.