Mushroom Barley Soup

By on 20 March, 2018 in Cooking, Food, Kate and Stephen with 0 Comments

A bunch of schools in the northern part of the state had closed early, and we were hearing apocalyptic rumors of fist-sized hail and a coming cold snap. So, we did what any sensible person would do. We walked the dog early, and we made soup. Soon it’ll be too hot for soup, and the halcyon days of curling around a steaming bowl with a piece of crusty bread will be over until well into football season. So it’s good to get the last bits of soup out of the way. This is one of the easiest things I know how to make, and with a few key ingredients it comes together in a snap. Like most soups, it’s better the next day. And it’s an easy way to eat a meatless meal that doesn’t feel like you’re skimping on the flavor.

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need a meat stock to make a rich and satisfying soup – especially when you’re using something savory like mushrooms. This soup starts by rehydrating about a cup of dried porcini mushrooms. You can get these at Publix, next to where all the other mushrooms live, or you can order them in bulk online (and pay a lot less). We choose the latter option because we use them so much in our regular vegetarian cooking. Boil some water and cover the mushrooms for about 20 minutes. Save the water from rehydration, as you’ll need it to add flavor to the soup. Then peel three carrots, trim up three stalks of celery, and chop them all up with an onion. These basics go into the pan with two tablespoons of olive oil to brown up. Add in some fresh mushrooms. I used a package of sliced portabellos from Publix, but I’ve also used white mushrooms. Let the vegetables get nice and brown, stirring often so they don’t burn. Add in the porcini, stir a little bit to get the flavors going, then add a cup of pearled barley. You can also use regular barley, it just takes a little longer to cook. Stir until the barley is toasted. A splash of white wine wouldn’t be out of place here to deglaze the pan if it sticks a little. Then add in the soaking liquid from the mushrooms and about 4 more cups of water – about 6 total. Cook for 20-30 minutes until the barley is tender. Finish with a tablespoon of soy sauce, and let the flavors meld a little before eating.

If you want a stronger flavor, substitute stock for water. I like Better Than Bouillon concentrate, which they also have at Publix. Alas, they stopped carrying the fake chicken kind, which I like the best, but the miracle of online shopping means you can get that delivered too if you really want it. I don’t generally find that stock is necessary for this soup – the flavors are nice and rich all on their own.

This soup is great the next day in particular, served with some bread and cheese. Here in Montgomery, we didn’t get hail or tornadoes after all, but a little preparation still made for a good few meals at home.

Kate and Stephen are Midtown residents with one cat, a dog, ten fish, a garden, an old house and a sense of adventure. They write about life in Midtown here and about life in Montgomery at their blog Lost in Montgomery.

Be Sociable, Share!

Tags: , , ,


If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *