A hearty barley soup made with loads of fresh mushrooms, beef broth, chicken broth and aromatics. Thyme and balsamic vinegar are added to compliment the mushrooms earthiness. A wonderful warming soup.
I have a love affair with mushrooms. Ask anyone who knows me. I know people either love them or hate them. So if you’re on my side, then you’re going to really enjoy this soup.
What is Barley?
Barley is a healthy high-fiber, high-protein whole grain. It has an amazing 5 grams of fiber in just ¼ cup! It’s reasonably priced and can add tons of bulk and nutrition to a dish. Barley comes in a package like the picture below or you can buy it in bulk at places like Whole Foods.
When it’s cooked, barley has a very mild nutty flavor, similar to brown rice. It’s nice and soft when cooked and is a great comfort food. It can either be cooked separately and added to the soup or cooked right in the soup. I prefer the later method because it uses less pots and it soaks up the broth flavor as it cooks.
Ingredients to Make Mushroom Barley Soup
- Vegetables – onions, carrots, celery, garlic are the classic base, sometimes referred to as sofritto. They are sautéed in oil to get the flavors started. Then the mushrooms are added in.
- Mushrooms – We use 2 types of mushrooms for this recipe, white button and baby Bella mushrooms.
- Liquid – beef and chicken broth, along with water, vinegar and tomato paste make up the broth.
- Spices – Bay leaf, thyme, salt and pepper
This recipe makes a lot of soup and I have found the barley continues to soak up the broth if you put any extra in the fridge. So be prepared to add more if necessary.
Also, be sure to small dice the carrots and celery.
Any type of mushroom will work so feel free to use porcini mushrooms or cremini mushrooms as well. I just wanted to keep things simple.
This mushroom barley soup is a winner every time. It’s just pure comfort food and pretty fool proof. You really can’t make it wrong. It’s been a steady part of our rotation for many years now.
Make Ahead and Storage:
- Make Ahead – This soup can be made ahead of time and kept warm on the stove or slow cooker.
- Storage – If you store the soup in an airtight container, it will last about 3-4 days in the refrigerator.
- Freezer – Allow the soup to cool completely (overnight in the refrigerator is better) and place in freezer friendly containers to store for up to 3 months.
Mushroom Barley Soup
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- 2–3 Tablespoons Olive oil
- 1 Small Onion, chopped
- 2 Carrots, peeled and diced small
- 1 Celery stalk, diced small
- 2 Cloves garlic, minced
- 1 (8 oz pkg) White Mushrooms, sliced as well as diced
- 1 (8 oz. pkg) Bella Mushrooms, sliced as well as diced
- 1 Tablespoon Tomato paste
- 2 Cups Beef broth
- 2 Cups Chicken broth
- 1 Cup Water
- 1 Cup Pearl Barley
- 1 teaspoon Balsamic vinegar
- 1 Bay leaf
- 2 teaspoons Dried Thyme
- Sea salt and pepper to taste (check for sodium in chicken broth if store bought before adding more)
- In a large stock pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Once it is warm, add the onions, carrots and celery and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Stir occasionally to see if more oil is needed to prevent sticking and burning.
- Add the garlic and cook for an additional 30 seconds to 1 minute or until fragrant.
- Turn the heat up to medium/high and add the mushrooms. Add a drizzle more oil if needed and cook until their liquid is released and they begin to golden.
- Push the veggies to the side of the pan and add the tomato paste to the middle. Swish it around the pan to incorporate into the veggies and cook for 1-2 minutes.
- Add the beef and chicken broth, water, vinegar, spices and bay leaf.
- Bring to a boil and immediately turn down to simmer.
- Add the barley and cook 45 minutes – 1 hour or until barley is tender.
- Remove the bay leaf and check for seasoning. Add more seasonings if necessary.