Mushroom Barley Soup

You may remember the other day I posted what were arguably decadent sweet biscuits to be served alongside a mysterious virtuous soup.

This is that soup.


Nothing says virtue like eating barley for dinner. But really, this is a simple and resourceful soup. Definitely a soup for a Monday when you’ve eaten out too much over the weekend. Not pointing fingers, but my husband just got back from a small food fest of visit to Seattle. He was kind enough to photograph all the food he ate. Jealousy aside, I realized my own weekend here in town was spent eating random snacks that hardly qualified as meals.

Hence a hearty vegetable soup. Don’t feel like you have to follow the recipe to a t. If you don’t like something, omit it or swap it out for more of something you do enjoy. For example, I’m not a big onion person, but leeks are sort of okay in my book. So in this case, I used a couple medium leeks and left out the onion.


Whatever you do, make sure you keep the barley! It adds an important heft to the soup. I suppose you could replace it with potatoes if you wanted to.

And I guess you could whip up a batch of Salted Brown Sugar Pecan Biscuits. Just a suggestion.

Mushroom Barley Soup
yield: around 4-5 cups
  • ¼ ounce dried mushrooms, preferably porcini
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 10 ounces crimini mushrooms, coarsely chopped
  • 1 large leek or onion, sliced or minced (your preference)
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup chopped kale
  • ⅓ cup pearl barley
  • 4 cups stock (chicken, vegetable or beef)
  • salt and pepper to taste (about a half a teaspoon of each)
  1. In a small bowl, combine the dried mushrooms and hot water. Let sit 20 minutes, or till softened. Then, drain and keep the liquid, setting it aside. Chop the mushrooms and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, heat butter and oil over medium-low heat in a pot or dutch oven. Add crimini mushrooms, leek/onion, and carrots. Cook 5-10 minutes, till vegetables are tender, but not browned.
  3. Increase the heat to medium and add the garlic, kale, and barley. Cook 2-3 minutes.
  4. Pour in the reserved mushroom liquid and the stock of your choice. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer with the lid slightly propped open until the barley is soft, 40-50 minutes. Season to taste.


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