Mushroom and Barley Soup could very well be one of the most perfect comfort foods. It is certainly one of my favorite things to eat when I'm feeling out of sorts. Mushrooms are wonderfully meaty and flavorful but they are actually very nutritious as well. They are a great source of protein and vitamins and also have very few calories. Combined with chewy barley and hearty vegetables, this filling soup is a healthy meal in one. I like to use a mixture of mushrooms for variety; portabellas are great for their intense mushroom flavor and shiitakes add a wilder, woodsy quality to the soup. These varieties can be expensive, however, so I always throw some crimini or button mushrooms into the mix as well. For a truly luxurious treat, add a dollop of sour cream to each bowl before serving!
Mushroom and Barley Soup
Thick Slices of Homemade Rye Bread
Leafy Green Salad with Red Onion, Tomato, Avocado and Sunflower Seeds


2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 pound mixed mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
8 cups vegetable stock
1 large white potato, peeled and diced
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon soy sauce
3/4 cup pearl barley
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
salt and pepper

Cooking Instructions

Heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat in a large soup pot. Add the carrots, celery, and onion and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion begins to turn translucent and the vegetables are softened (about 5 minutes). Add the garlic and mushrooms and continue to cook until the mushrooms are softened and begin to release their liquid (about 5 minutes longer). Add the vegetable stock, potato, bay leaves, soy sauce, and barley and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer the soup, covered, for about 30 minutes.

Add the chopped parsley and continue to cook until the barley is tender (5 to 10 minutes longer). Season the soup to taste with salt and pepper. Serve in bowls garnished with additional chopped parsley.

Makes 6 to 8 servings



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elliemay's blog

To achieve a more intense mushroom flavor, I sometimes use dried shiitakes in addition to or in place of some of the fresh mushrooms. Soak the dried shiitakes in hot water for 15 to 20 minutes or until soft. Squeeze out the excess water, remove the stems, and chop or thinly slice and add to the soup along with the fresh mushrooms. You can replace some of the vegetable stock with the mushroom soaking liquid if you like.

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