Mushroom Barley Soup

Mushroom Barley Soup

Committee meeting working lunch, 1/26/12 – served with whole wheat sandwich bread

This soup is hearty and filling. Regarding leftovers, the barley will continue to absorb liquid as it sits, so if you leave leftover soup in the fridge, there will not be nearly as much liquid when you come back to eat it. Add more stock/broth or water, or enjoy the leftovers as a less soupy meal.

  • 1/2 ounce dried mushrooms (optional)*
  • 1 cup boiling water (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil, divided
  • 8 ounces white mushrooms, sliced*
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 cup pearled barley
  • 6 cups beef or chicken stock or broth, or water in a pinch
  • salt
  • pepper

In a small, heatproof bowl, pour boiling water over dried mushrooms, if using. Allow to steep for 45 minutes. Remove and roughly chop mushrooms. Strain liquid through a coffee filter or paper towel to remove any dirt and reserve the liquid.

In a large pot, heat one tablespoon of oil over medium heat. When hot, add sliced mushrooms. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms have released all their water and are browned. Remove mushrooms to a bowl and reserve.

Heat remaining tablespoon of oil in the same pot. Add onions and carrots. Cook, stirring, until onions are translucent and carrots are tender. Add barley and cook 2-3 minutes more, until barley is slightly browned and smells toasted. Do not allow to burn.

Add stock, broth, or water. Add cooked mushrooms, soaked mushrooms, and soaking liquid. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook until barley is tender, about 30 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Yield: 6 servings

*Mushrooms can be a lucrative and marketable crop, and they can be grown indoors in Nebraska.

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