Recipe: Cream of Mushroom Barley Soup

I came across a recipe for Cream of Mushroom Barley Soup quite awhile ago… and have been wanting it ever since. Well… I finally got around to making it …. and glad I did. It was a really nice weeknight supper … soup and that Bacon-Cheddar Pinwheel appetizer I posted last week…

I started out using a recipe from Delish… but I did make some changes….

They cooked the barley in 1 ½ cups broth (mushroom or chicken) for 30-35 minutes. I ended up adding more broth because the broth dried up before the 30 minutes and the barley was far from tender. The whole process of cooking the barley took about 45 minutes and a little more than 2 cups of broth (I used chicken broth). They also don’t cover the pot with a lid after you turn the heat to low… I did.

They used only 1 tablespoon olive oil for sauteing the chopped shallots…. I used 2 tablespoons… and for some odd reason their recipe called for 2 teaspoons of butter…. that is difficult to measure and I like to use a matching amount of oil and butter…. I used two tablespoons of butter…. I felt their amounts were too dry for that amount of shallots…. mine were not greasy.

They minced the shallots… I chopped very finely in my mini chopper.

I don’t always like chopped celery in my soups… depending upon what it is… but I like the celery taste…. so I chopped the celery into 3 large pieces per stalk and cooked it… when I was done… I simply took out the large pieces.

The used reduced-fat sour cream…. I prefer using regular sour cream so I simply substituted it for the reduced-fat variety.

When making adjustments after tasting it… I added ¼ cup heavy cream to smooth it out.

Warren was a little late coming home that night and I kept the soup on low to keep it warm.. it got a bit thicker than I like… so I just added more broth until I got the consistency I wanted.

The package porcini mushrooms I bought came with instructions… they reconstitute the mushrooms a couple of ways… if using boiling water they only let them sit for 3 minutes…. warm water about 30 minutes…. this differs greatly from the Delish instructions… they use boiling water and soak them for 20 minutes…. so I used very hot but not boiling water and soaked them for 15 minutes.

I recommend you follow the directions on the package of dried porcini mushrooms if available… as long as they become soft and you chop them… it shouldn’t matter... Definitely use 2 cups of water though… you will be putting it in the soup in one of the cooking steps.

They used 20 ounces of white mushrooms… I had only 16 ounces… I think 16 ounces is more than enough.

This was an easy soup to make… and so delicious!


Recipe: Cream of Mushroom Barley Soup

All you need:

½ cup pearl barley
5-5 ½ cups mushroom broth or chicken broth, divided
1 ounce porcini mushrooms
2 cups very hot water
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup finely chopped shallots
16 ounces white mushrooms, sliced
2 stalks of celery, finely chopped or chop in large pieces (see post for information)
1 teaspoon dried sage
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground pepper
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup dry to medium sherry
½ cup sour cream
¼ cup heavy cream
¼ cup chopped chives

All you need to do:

To cook the barley:

In a small sauce pan, combine 2 ¼ cups broth and ½ cup barley.

Heat to boiling then reduce heat and cover.

Cook until barley is tender … about 40-45 minutes. Check frequently, if broth evaporates completely before the barley is tender… and a bit more. When barley is cooked… remove from heat and set aside.

To prepare the porcini mushrooms:

Heat 2 cups water to very hot…. put porcinis in a medium bowl… add the water and allow to soak for about 15 minutes…. or follow package directions… just make sure you use 2 cups of water… you will be adding it later to the soup.

Line a sieve with paper towel and set it over a bowl.

Pour the mushrooms and soaking water through the lined sieve. Reserve the soaking water.

Finely chop the porcini mushrooms. Set aside.

To make the soup:

In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the butter and oil over medium heat.

Add the shallots and cook for about 2 minutes until they’re softened, stirring frequently.

Add the sliced white mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently until they have released their juices and begin to brown… 8-10 minutes.

Add the porcinis, sage, salt and pepper. (If you decide to finely chop the celery… add it now. If you and the stalks in large pieces… wait to add them later).

Cook until the vegetables begin to soften…. about 3 minutes…. stirring frequently.

Sprinkle flour over the vegetables and cook, stirring constantly until the flour is completely incorporated…. about 1 minute.

Add the sherry and cook, scraping any browned bits from the bottom. Cook until most of the sherry is evaporated…about 1 minute.

Add the celery (if you decided to add them in large pieces, the soaking water from the porcini mushrooms, and 3 cups broth.

Increase heat to high and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat and simmer stirring occasionally until soup has thickened… and celery is tender if you added the finely chopped pieces…. About 22-25 minutes.

If you added the large pieces of celery… remove them from the soup and discard.

Add the barley and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until heated through.

Stir in the sour cream and stir well to incorporate.

Add the ¼ cup heavy cream and stir well to incorporate.

Ladle into bowls and snip chives over the soup.

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