Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Mushroom Barley Soup

Who doesn't love soup?

"We both have so much in common. We both love soup."

Well, there you go. lol

Soup really cures what ails you. When you have a cold, what could be better, more satisfying and nourishing than a bowl of mom's special chicken noodle soup? Or, on a chilly day, nothing warms the stomach and the soul quite as well as a nice filling bowl of hot soup. Cold soups like gazpacho or a fruity melon-cucumber soup help relieve the heat of summer, while delicate bisques, with their subtle complexity of flavors, form the perfect complement to an elegant dinner, and hearty bean soups provide all the warmth and solidity of a full meal in a single bowlful.

No soup is foreign to me. Hell, I'll even drink a cup of a well-made broth as a small warming snack. I love the onset of cool weather so I can try out new soup recipes and return to old friends. One of my favorites is this mushroom-barley soup, which is endlessly adaptable, accommodating different types of mushrooms, broth and even the addition of meat.

Mushroom- Barley Soup

  • 4 - 5 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 lb fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 small celery root, finely diced (or 1 stalk of celery)
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 cup pearl barley (pearl or quick-cooking)
  • 1/2 oz dried wild mushrooms, reconstituted and chopped (comes to 4 oz)
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 T fresh thyme
  • black pepper
  • butter
  1. Saute onions, carrot, celery root in butter until nicely softened.

  2. Add the garlic and cook for 3 minutes.

  3. Add the reconstituted wild mushrooms until they start releasing liquid, and then gradually add the rest of the mushrooms.

  4. Add the barley and stir to coat. Add the salt and some black pepper, then 2 cups of the broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cover, letting it simmer.

  5. Check on it frequently, gradually adding more broth until the barley has cooked and the consistency is to your taste. If you use quick-cooking barley, the soup only needs to simmer for about 20 minutes. If you use pearl barley, it will take quite a bit longer, closer to 45 minutes.

  6. Stir in the thyme near the end. Taste, taste and taste again, adjusting the salt and pepper to suit your taste.

  7. If you like, you may add some cream, a dollop of sour cream, or sherry just before serving, though I like it as is.

  • I used celery root because I was out of celery, too lazy to go to the store and, oddly enough, had a celery root handy. I had been saving it for a creamy leek and celery root soup, but alas, I have no leeks either. Maybe next time. :p

  • In addition to the 4 oz (half a standard package) of baby bellas (cremini), I used a mixture of dried porcini and morels. It's a lovely mix of mushrooms.

  • This makes a small batch of soup, about 4 servings. It doubles very well for larger batches, but if you are planning on making a large batch to refrigerate or freeze for later, bear in mind that the longer it sits, the more liquid gets absorbed by the barley, changing the texture.

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