Friday, October 29, 2010

Mushroom Barley Soup

Photo courtesy of Real Simple

Looking for a way to warm yourself as the weather becomes increasingly chilly? Here’s a hearty soup that is simple and inexpensive to prepare (no meat!) It freezes pretty well too.

One nice thing about making your own soup is that you can control how much salt you add. Regular canned soups can be astronomically high in sodium. Even if you don’t have high blood pressure, sodium causes bloating and nobody wants that. This particular soup also incorporates whole grains (barley, often available in bulk in grocery stores). I love to make a batch of homemade soup at the beginning of the week and eat it for lunch each day; or eat it for a couple days and freeze the rest for later, thus preventing “leftover burn out”.

Mushroom Barley Soup

1 cup barley
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium yellow onions, diced
kosher salt and black pepper
1 large carrot, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
20 ounces button mushrooms, sliced
5 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves (about 8 sprigs)
sliced sourdough or other country bread, toasted (optional)


In a medium-size pan, bring the barley and 4 cups of water to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until tender, 30 to 35 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large pot over medium-low heat. Add the onions, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Cover and cook until the onions have softened, 5 to 7 minutes.

Add the carrot and celery and cook, covered, for 6 minutes more.

Add the mushrooms, increase heat to medium-high, and cook, covered, until they release their juices, about 4 minutes.

Add the broth, bay leaves, and thyme and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

Stir in the cooked barley; remove and discard the bay leaves. If desired, season with additional salt and pepper and serve with the sourdough toast.

1 comment:

  1. An inspiring soup. I cannot even think of eating canned soup now. How did I ever do it? I'm definitely in the soup mood lately and feel I will be for quite some time. I might make some today, this rainy and grey day.


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