Mushroom Barley Soup
Yield: 4-6 servings
A hearty, meal-worthy soup that can be prepared in advance and freezes well. Perfect to keep warm in the colder months!


Ingredients

  • 3 strips bacon, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt & pepper
  • 1 pound button or cremini mushrooms, trimmed and sliced or quartered
  • ½ a 6-ounce can tomato paste
  • 2 (14½-ounce cans) beef broth (plus extra if a thinner soup is desired)
  • 1 cup (144g) uncooked quick-cooking barley
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon (5ml) red wine vinegar
  • Optional for serving: chopped fresh parsley, grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. In a 6-8 quart pot, cook bacon over medium heat until beginning to crisp.
  2. Add the onion, garlic, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Cook 3-5 minutes more or until the onion begins to turn golden in spots.
  3. Add the mushrooms and cook 5-10 minutes, or until they release their liquid.
  4. Stir in tomato paste and cook for 1 more minute.
  5. Add the broth, barley, oregano, and 3 cups water. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until barley is tender, about 10-15 minutes.
  6. Add more water or broth to thin the soup as needed or desired.
  7. Add salt and pepper to taste and then stir in vinegar. (Helpful hint: If the flavor seems to be lacking at this point, it is likely because the soup needs a little more salt, especially since nearly half of the liquid used is water.)
  8. Ladle into bowls and garnish with fresh parsley and Parmesan cheese, if using. (Alternatively, you may stir ¼ cup of chopped parsley into the pot of soup.)

Notes

•This recipe can be doubled and freezes well.

• For those who want to incorporate more veggies, you may add one (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes with juices, and/or a cup or so of chopped carrots and/or celery. Add the carrots and celery with the mushrooms and the tomatoes after the tomato paste has cooked for 1 minute, stirring to combine, and then proceed with the water, barley, etc.

• My favorite way to bolster this soup is to create a beef barley soup by stirring in leftover Chuck Roast in Foil along with any residual juices. I use what I have leftover – ideally about two cups but even a single cup of the shredded meat will add lovely flavor. Alternatively, you could add browned ground beef or Italian sausage. I’d aim for a pound of ground beef or a half to three-quarters pound of sausage.


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