mushroom barley soup

i don't think i could ever be sick of mushrooms. not only do they taste great, can be seasoned or spiced up a lot of different ways, but they are an excellent alternative to meat.

this isn't really a soup. a stew is more like it. don't get me wrong, the flavors are great, it's just that the barley soaks up a lot more of the broth than i expected. so if you want something a bit thinner - soupier - then i suggest adding another cup of broth. and if you want leftovers - which we both ate for lunch for a few days - beware that the soup definitely thickens over time, as the barley soaks up the broth.

mushroom barley soup
adapted from the joy of cooking
75 minutes, serves eight

3 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 1/2 pounds mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup shallots, diced
3 tablespoons dry sherry
1 teaspoon dried thyme (not ground)
4 1/2 cups beef stock
3/4 cup pearl barley
  1. add the olive oil and butter to a large saucepot or dutch oven over medium high heat. add the mushrooms and shallots and saute until the mushrooms start to soften, about five minutes.
  2. add the sherry and stir to deglaze the bottom of the pan. add the thyme and reduce heat to low. simmer about five minutes.
  3. add the broth and barley and season with salt and pepper. bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and simmer about one hour, until the barley is tender.


  1. I had the same experience with barley. I like it a lot, but I put too much in, and wound up with "soup" you could stand a fork up in. By the next day it was the consistency of oatmeal. What I'm wondering is if the thing to do is cook the barley separately and combine them when served.

  2. The other option is to (a) use 1/2 the barley or (b) double your stock. But I love the chewiness of barley so I usually opt to add extra stock. Any way you do it is going to be delicious.


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