secret recipe club: mushroom barley soup

i had a hard time choosing my recipe for this month's secret recipe club. jane at the heritage cook has hundreds of sweet and savory recipes, most of which look like something i would make at home. and i can totally get behind her "chocolate monday" feature. (marry that with alison's sweet tooth friday and the start and end of the week is covered!)

i had it narrowed down to three recipes - mexican black bean soup with cilantro lime sauce, triple layer lemon cake with lemon buttercream icing (for hubs, of course), and one of her two mushroom barley soups. i ultimately chose the mushroom barley soup because i didn't have the patience for the black bean soup this month, i had already made two layer cakes in the last four weeks and couldn't justify another, and the first and only time i made mushroom barley soup it came out far too thick. i've had every intention to remake it and as soon as i saw jane's version, i stopped looking for anything else!

this soup is deceiving; it doesn't look like much, but it's packed full of flavor. tons of vegetables - mushrooms, carrots, celery, leeks - barley, and sherry, one of my favorite additions to soup, make this flavorful and filling. you definitely won't miss the meat!

for more information on the secret recipe club, including the list of participating bloggers, featured recipes from members, and instructions on how to join, visit the secret recipe club website  

mushroom barley soup
adapted from the heritage cook
60 minutes, serves 4-6

2/3 cup quick-cooking barley
1/4 ouncedried porcini mushrooms
1 large onion, chopped
4 celery ribs, sliced
4 carrots, sliced
8 ounces baby portobella mushrooms, sliced
1 large leek, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced and rinsed
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons dry sherry (not sherry vinegar)
1 3/4 cups beef broth
  1. soak porcini mushrooms in a half cup water until they're soft, about 20 minutes. once soft, drain and reserve liquid. rinse the mushrooms to remove any grit and coarsely chop.
  2. while the mushrooms are soaking, chop the rest of your vegetables.
  3. coat the bottom of a large dutch oven with olive oil and heat over medium high heat. saute onion and celery until just starting to brown, about 5 minutes. add carrots, baby bellas, leek, and chopped porcinis. saute until the liquid from the mushrooms is evaporated, about 10 minutes. 
  4. stir in tomato paste, sherry, beef broth, reserved mushroom soaking liquid - be careful not to add any grit that collected in the bottom of your dish, barley, and three cups of water. bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and simmer until the barley and vegetables are tender, 15-20 minutes.
  5. season with salt and pepper and serve.


  1. this looks like a hearty soup perfect for winter. yum! jane has so many good recipes though, how could you go wrong?

  2. I adore a good hearty soup this time of year and yours looks like a winner.

    If you haven't already, I'd love for you to check out my SRC entry Lemon Almond Biscotti.


  3. Yum! Nothing beats a chunky soup like this - one of my favourites!

  4. This looks like the perfect way to beat the winter blues. Beautiful!

  5. I am so happy that you like this recipe - it is a standard at our house all winter long. I love how easy it is to change depending on what you have in the cupboard. Thanks for your kind words .... beautiful photos!

  6. Coming over from group B of the SRC. I love soup and this looks like an awesome one to try.

  7. i love this soup. Mushroom and Barley is a great combo!


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