rave: mushroom barley soup via epicurious.com

with the weather getting colder and colder here in atx, i am craving soup more and more. and to be honest, i'm getting tired of the canned variety. so out to the trusty www i went in search of soup. soup that is hearty but healthy, full of flavor and depth but doesn't require an 8 hour cook time and something that is relatively easy. i will admit that i do "cheat" most of the time i make soups. by the time i get home from work/running/groceries i usually only have about 1 hour to get food on the table before it's really late for dinner or the beast inside b is gnawing at my leg. so i usually buy the pre-chopped and portioned kits from central market to make soup.

but last night i decided to try this mushroom barley soup recipe that i found a couple weeks back on epicurious.com; mainly because i had a ton of different types of mushrooms in my fridge. i was drawn to the recipe because it was a mushroom barley soup that did not have any heavy cream in it. and you could technically make it vegan/vegetarian if you skip the butter and use olive/grape seed oil. also, it was relatively quick and easy. i did make some changes to the original recipe and have a couple more changes i would do next time. so this would be my recipe. enjoy!

Mushroom Barley Soup
Adapted from: Bon Appétit - December 1995 by Tony Litwinko: Glendale, California
Yield: Serves 8

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter (or 3-4 tablespoons of olive/grape seed oil)
1.5 pounds of any type(s) of mushrooms, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (i used creminis, shiitake, white and king trumpet)
2 large carrots, chopped
2 large celery stalks, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup pearl barley, rinsed
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
8 cups canned vegetable broth
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill or 1 teaspoon dried dill weed
1 sprig of fresh sage
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Dash of paprika (optional)
1 bunch of kale leaves chopped (or 1 bag of baby spinach)

Melt butter till foamy in heavy large Dutch oven/large stock pot over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and season with a little bit of salt and pepper. Sauté and sweat out the mushrooms for about 10 minutes. Add carrots, celery, onion and bay leaves. Sauté until vegetables begin to brown and most liquid is gone, about 8-10 minutes. Add barley and stir in for 1-2 minutes.

Add flour to pot and stir 3 minutes. Gradually mix in broth. Bring soup to boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to medium and Mix in sage, parsley, paprika and dill. Simmer until barley is tender and soup is beginning to thicken, about 20-25 minutes. Turn heat off and stir in chopped kale leaves. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with parsley on top.


other reviews mentioned adding sherry to the soup or deglazing after sautéing the veggies before stirring in barley. i can see how the flavors would work and add depth, but i didn't have any sherry on hand to try...so next time maybe.  or if you do try, let me know!


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