I have the funniest story about me and this soup. The first time I made it, I received the recipe from a friend. I didn’t see that it said .5 lbs. of mushrooms and I thought it was 5 lbs! So you can only imagine how much chopping I was doing. I had never seen a recipe say .5 instead of 1/2 lb! Joel happened to be in the kitchen and he kept saying that is an awful lot of mushrooms, and until I looked at it carefully I hadn’t seen that it said .5 . Who writes .5 ? Well, we had enough mushroom barley soup for the whole winter and then some–it expanded to a huge amount, and I had to keep adding liquid, it was hysterical. Once I realized what I had done, I had a good laugh, but the soup was still pretty tasty. I will write it it the way it should be and I doubt you’ll be making that same mistake any time soon. This is a very tasty , deeply robust soup, very healthy rendition of Mushroom Barley Soup. (and I always wear my reading glasses when I read a recipe now because you never know when you really need to see the difference between .5 and 5! )
1/3 cup dried mushrooms, like porcini
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
12 medium carrots, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 lb. of white mushrooms, coarsely chopped
1/2 lb. of shitake, cremini, portabello or other mushrooms, coarsely chopped
1/2 lb. of whole barley( I had to use pearl barley because that’s what I had in house, it’s fine) I just used 1/2 a bag. Don’t worry over exact measurements here, just eyeball it. If you have a scale, you can measre it exactly, I just halved the bag.
6 cups of beef broth (vegetarians can use vegetable broth) and you will need the other 2 cups in the box if you are using boxed broth. You will need 8 cups total, just start out with 6.
3 tablespoons sherry
* 1 tablespoon sherry wine vinegar – I like this and add it before I serve it. It’s no biggie if you don’t want to use or don’t have it.
Cover dried mushrooms with 1 cup of hot water and set aside for 20 minutes. Reserve the liquid and finely chop mushrooms.
Heat oil in heavy bottom pot (Le Creuset).
Saute onions and carrots over medium heat until onions begin to turn golden and transparent. Add garlic and saute for a minute. I always throw a bit of kosher salt and pepper in while veggies saute. Just a bit, you’ll taste for Salt and Pepper later.
Add fresh mushrooms(dried ones as well) and saute for about 5 minutes until mushrooms release their water. Raise the heat and add the barley. Saute until barley begins to color. Add broth and sherry. Add mushroom soaking liquid to pot. Add kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Soup will start to naturally thicken as barley plumps up, if you need to add more liquid either water or broth will be just fine. Simmer for about an hour, you will probably need more liquid, I always add the other 2 cups of broth, and I add water then if it is still too thick, play it by ear. I also add additional Salt and Pepper at this point, you will have to adjust to your own personal taste. Add vinegar right before serving, if you are using it. Serve with nice crusty bread! Enjoy!
This makes for a delightful lunch meal with a salad and bread. I also make this in the morning , put whole pot in fridge ( once it cools down) and right before dinner heat it up. This gives flavors time to meld together, and then if you need to add more liquid you will add water since you’ve already added the additional 2 cups of broth. Freezes up beautifully, and exactly what I will do, because whole family will be coming to visit at the end of week, Yeah!!!! 🙂 🙂