Well, technically, if you are making my version of Mushroom Barley Soup, it should actually be classified as a stew. Both my husband and I love barley, so I feel no need to use moderation when adding the pearly grain. So many recipes I see for this type of soup use a paltry 1/3 cup of dried barley with 8 cups of broth – ridiculous! But this recipe is filled with barley and mushrooms; it makes a hearty meal for two, or a light lunch for three. And when I say hearty, I mean it. I am sitting here typing this with an ever-expanding belly having just downed a large bowl of this fulfilling soup!
While I do recommend beef broth, chicken broth or no chicken broth could be subbed in a pinch, and I think the mushroom broth from Pacific Foods would be good! Also feel free to add any vegetables you have on hand. Diced carrots and celery would both be a delicious touch!
Special Diet Notes: Mushroom Barley Soup
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, peanut-free, and nut-free. Optionally vegetarian / vegan and soy-free.
- 1 tablespoon oil (I used grapeseed, but olive or vegetable will do)
- ½ medium onion, slivered (about 1¼ cups)
- ½ cup dry barley, rinsed (I used pearl)
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced (or about 2 teaspoons bottled minced garlic)
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 8 ounces sliced button or cremini mushrooms
- 4 cups (1 quart) beef or mushroom broth
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 bay leaf
- ¼ -1 teaspoon salt, to taste
- 1 teaspoon miso paste (or simply more salt to taste)
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Heat the oil in a stock pot over medium heat.
- Add the onions, and sauté for about 5 minutes, or until they are translucent.
- Reduce the heat just a touch, add the barley, garlic, and thyme, and sauté for another 3 to 5 minutes.
- Stir in the mushrooms, followed by the broth, tomato paste, vinegar, bay leaf, and I would start with ¼ teaspoon of salt and the miso if using.
- Bring the soup to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover, and allow the soup to simmer for at least 1 hour, or until the barley is nice and tender.
- Season to taste with additional salt and black pepper to taste.