the taste space

Wild Mushroom and Barley Soup

Posted in Soups by Janet M on December 12, 2010


The snow has fallen, the salt is out and my bike has been stowed away for the winter.

My winter jacket, mitts and hat are now in the front of my closet.

I cleaned the dust off my winter boots.

Winter is here.

And what else does snow make me do?

Snow simply screams, “Soup!”.

I will happily succumb.

Adapted from the Williams-Sonoma Eat Well Cookbook, this is a hearty and creamy wild mushroom soup (sans creme) with barley and thyme.  Something great to warm up with this winter.

It is for serious mushroom lovers, with both dried shiitake and fresh cremini mushrooms. Tomato paste adds a deeper body to the soup, and the sherry adds a special flavour. Thyme, a perfect pair to the mushrooms, is a nice accent, along with the lemon juice. Nowhere have I mentioned cream, but this is a substantial soup with the pearl barley. The trick is to puree a portion of the soup for the creaminess.


This is my submission to Deb for this week’s Souper Sundays.

Wild Mushroom and Barley Soup

1/2 oz dried mushrooms (I used shiitake – about 5)
1/2 cup sherry
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup chopped shallots
2 cloves of garlic, minced
8 oz fresh cremini mushrooms
1 tsp minced fresh thyme, or 1/2 tsp dried
3 cups vegetable broth
3/4 cup pearl barley
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp fresh lemon juice

1. Rinse dried mushrooms well to remove any dirt. Bring 1 cup of water to a boil in the microwave or a kettle, and soak mushrooms in the water for at least 15 minutes. Drain mushrooms (reserving the liquid) and finely chop the mushrooms.

2. Heat oil in a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add shallots and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until shallots are wilted, 3-5 minutes. Add cremini mushrooms, thyme, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp of pepper. Cook until the creminis release their juices and begin to brown, 4-5 minutes. Add sherry to deglaze the pan and boil, scraping up any browned bits from pan bottom, for 1 minute.

3. Add broth, barley, tomato paste, reserved water from mushrooms, 2 cups water and chopped dried mushrooms to the pot. Cover and simmer until barley is tender, 45-50 minutes.

4. In a blender or food processor, puree about 1 cup of soup until smooth. Return soup to pot, heat until just hot and stir in lemon juice. Season soup to taste with additional salt and pepper.

Serves 4.

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10 Responses

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  1. Emma said, on December 12, 2010 at 8:26 AM

    This looks delicious. I’m definitely appreciating hot soup right now and having just discovered how fantastic pearl barley is, this goes straight to the top of the must-try list. Thank you :)

  2. Priya said, on December 12, 2010 at 1:23 PM

    Wat a healthy and nutritious soup..

  3. Priya (Yallapantula) Mitharwal said, on December 12, 2010 at 6:28 PM

    wow, that looks healthy and delicious !!!

  4. DebinHawaii said, on December 12, 2010 at 8:52 PM

    This looks delicious–love the combination of mushrooms and of course the barley–yum! Thanks for sending it to Souper Sundays. ;-)

  5. Priya sreeram said, on December 13, 2010 at 9:44 AM

    so healthy n very delicious looking !

  6. Joanne said, on December 13, 2010 at 10:24 AM

    We’ve been spared from snow so far but it has been absolutely frigid lately so yes, I think some soup is absolutely required. This sounds so delicious! And oh so healthy. Love it.

  7. Azita said, on December 13, 2010 at 10:16 PM

    At this time of the year, I do love a delicious, creamy and healthy soup!

  8. girlichef said, on December 14, 2010 at 8:39 AM

    Oh my goodness…I feel warmer just looking at that bowl of soup. Sounds so delicious :D

  9. Sweet Artichoke said, on December 14, 2010 at 10:41 AM

    A perfect dinner for the cold winter! This soup is a real bowl of goodness!

  10. Ashley said, on February 20, 2011 at 3:13 PM

    I love barley in soup.


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