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everybody wins

February 22 2009 by Kristin at The Kitchen Sink in Recipe,Soup » 15 comments


It snowed a few inches on Saturday morning—a real wallop.  While Kevin hated it, seeing it as a sign that winter was digging its heels in, I quite liked it.  The snow itself was pretty—big, snowglobe flakes that floated lazily to the already blanketed earth.  And, besides that, it provided a perfect excuse to spend the day inside, hunkered down.


So hunker we did.  Kevin watched a Chicago Bulls championship series game from the late nineties on TV (I am so not kidding) and I puttered around the kitchen.  It was quiet and relaxing and a just perfect Saturday. One of the best things to emerge from the day (aside from, surprise!, a Bulls win), was a steaming, simmering pot of soup.


It was a mushroom barley soup and, let me tell you, it was no small feat to get Kevin—a staunch fungus-phobe—to agree to a recipe title like that.  I assured him that not one speck of mushroom flesh would appear in his bowl and, to his credit, he trusted me.  It took a little creativity but I delivered on my promise and you know what?  He loved it.


To get the mushroom flavor into the soup, without using the mushrooms themselves, I steeped dried porcinis in boiling water, drained out the plumped mushrooms and used the steeping liquid to supplement the soup’s beef broth and water base.  I chopped and reserved the mushrooms.  Meanwhile,  I sauteed some vegetables in butter, added a bit of flour to act as a thickener and added the barley, which simmered slowly in the earthy, flavorful broth.  Just before ladling out the soup, I lined the bottom of my bowl with some of the chopped porcinis.  So my bowl was mushroom-flecked and Kevin’s was just mushroom-flavored.   Everybody wins.


Mushroom Barley Soup
Adapted from Zingermann’s Recipe

Printable Recipe

1/2 cup dried mushrooms, such as porcini
6 cups water, divided
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced carrot
1 cup diced onion
2 to 3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon flour
1 quart (4 cups) beef broth
3 or 4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 cup barley

Boil 2 cups of the water.  Pour it over the dried mushrooms, cover and set aside for 30 minutes.  Drain and chop the mushrooms and reserve the steeping liquid.

Heat the butter in a large pot over medium heat.  Add the celery, carrot, onion and garlic and cook for several minutes, until the vegetables soften.  Add the flour add stir to coat the vegetables; cook one minute stirring constantly.

Add the beef broth, remaining 4 cups of water, steeping liquid, thyme and barley.  Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for about an hour, until the barley is al dente.  Discard the thyme and add the chopped mushrooms, cooking briefly until the mushrooms are warm.

15 comments so far. »
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  1. Amy says on February 22 2009 at 7:59 pm:

    What a perfect recipe for a snowbound day. So I take it it’s the texture of mushrooms that Kevin doesn’t like? I know some people don’t like the supposed sliminess of them, but I can’t even fathom what it must be like to not be a mushroom lover. :)

    We got your snow today, and it was quite nice for nesting, I have to say.

  2. Tails says on February 23 2009 at 1:18 am:

    Oh wow this looks so good! And its chilly today so I could really do with some warm soup…AND i’m so hungry! Thanks for the recipe, I’ll definately try it!

  3. camille says on February 23 2009 at 9:07 am:

    This looks dreamy. Alas, my husband is against the TASTE of mushrooms as much as the actual physical presence of them, so your solution wouldn’t work for me – but I’ll just make it for myself!

  4. Whitney Merritt says on February 23 2009 at 1:34 pm:

    I had fun taking picture of the ducks at North Pond in the snow. It made for a pretty saturday!

  5. Karen says on February 23 2009 at 1:47 pm:

    This looks delicious and healthy! My husband has the same mushroom aversion, so I will do the same thing you did. Any suggestions for how to use the leftover mushrooms? Would their consistency be right for adding to a quiche?

  6. holler says on February 23 2009 at 4:07 pm:

    Great thinking! It does sound good :)

  7. Hayley says on February 24 2009 at 8:30 am:

    This soup looks perfect, and so comforting. Thanks for sharing!

  8. megan says on February 24 2009 at 9:05 am:

    This seems like it would taste kind of watered down with 6 cups of water and only 4 cups of beef broth. I’m assuming is doesn’t, since you like it so much…could you explain why? I’d love to make it.


  9. Kristin at The Kitchen Sink says on February 24 2009 at 9:12 am:

    Amy: That’s exactly right. I’ve decided to consider it a victory that I got him to like the taste, at least. : )

    Tails: I hope you do! Let us know how it turns out.

    Camille: What he doesn’t know won’t hurt him? Maybe?

    Whitney: It was pretty!

    Karen: I used all the leftover mushrooms in my portions. But if that made the soup too mushroom-y for you, you could certainly use them in a quiche or omelet. Just make sure they’re well drained.

    holler: Thanks!

    Hayley: Thank you!

    megan: Keep in mind that two cups of the water is actually a mushroom stock of sorts (because it will be used to steep the mushrooms). But if you wanted to amp up the flavor, you could go with a higher proporition of beef broth (say, 6 cups, rather than 4 cups). I didn’t find it bland at all, though.

  10. Melissa says on February 26 2009 at 5:50 pm:

    aside from, surprise!, a Bulls win

    Hehe. I can actually understand watching old ball, but I don’t really do it very often.

    Great compromise on the soup. And it looks perfectly delicious!

  11. Kristin at The Kitchen Sink says on February 26 2009 at 8:17 pm:

    Melissa: He doesn’t either. But, trust me, often enough. : )

  12. Becky says on March 28 2009 at 10:40 am:

    This reminds me of a recent Scrubs episode where JT and the Residents do a Morale huddle and Break with “Nobody Dies!!!”
    It made me giggle.

  13. Becky says on March 28 2009 at 10:46 am:

    correction: JD (not JT)

  14. Lucy says on November 11 2009 at 9:26 am:

    making this tonight – with the mushrooms in – no mushroom haters in my house!

  15. Jade Sheldon says on March 09 2010 at 8:07 pm:

    I’ve been looking at tons of different mushroom barley soup recipes… definitely going to try this one…

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