Mushroom Barley Soup is the second recipe in my series on Ancient Grains. I'm sure you're familiar with barley, especially in its fermented liquid form, but you can put barley into your diet in other ways besides a cold one on a Friday night. Which, I'm certainly not judging, by the way. That is still, and always will be, a perfectly fine way to get a fix of some barley.
People have cultivated barley as far back as 13,000 years ago. Now that definitely qualifies as an “ancient” grain, right?. As with all whole grains, barley is rich in fibre, which helps to regulate blood sugars, reduce cholesterol,and keep your heart healthy and happy. Hulled barley is the whole grain, and pearl barley is the barley grain with the hull removed. When you remove the hull, you also remove a lot of the nutrition. Whole grains pack a huge nutrition profile, so, whenever possible, try to use hulled barley.
I adore mushrooms, in all of their incredible variety. However, I do know that some people are not mushroom fans. Some folks have an issue with the texture and earthiness of mushrooms. If that is true for you, then I gotta tell you, you're looking at the wrong recipe. Go check out some other ancient grain recipes, instead. Try Farro Stuffed Peppers, Quinoa Sweet Potato Chickpea Salad, Farro Salad with Belgium Endive and Pomegranate, or Sweet Potato Quinoa Cakes.
Mushroom Barley Soup is my vegetarian take on the classic Beef Barley Soup. This soup is simply wonderful. I mean, really, really good. There are three kinds of mushrooms here, for layers of deep mushroom flavor. The shitake mushrooms have a wonderful, meaty feel in your mouth, and the barley adds a hearty nuttiness with a little bit of chewy. One of the mushroom varieties in this recipe is dried and reconstituted shitake mushrooms. It's an important ingredient, because you use the soaking water in the soup, which adds a rich depth of flavour.
- 1 25 gr package dried shitake mushrooms
- 2 cups hot water
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 1 cup oyster mushrooms, stems removed, and sliced.
- 5 cups vegetable stock
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tsp thyme leaf
- 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- ½ cup hulled barley, rinsed
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- ½ cup baby kale, or spinach, sliced into ribbons
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Soak dried shitake mushrooms in two cups of hot water for 20-30 minutes
- Over medium heat oil in a dutch oven or stockpot
- Add onion, celery and garlic and cook until softened, about 2 minutes
- Add cremini and oyster mushrooms and cook until beginning to brown, about 2 minutes
- Stir in vegetable stock, bay leaf, thyme, and Worcestershire sauce
- Poring through a strainer, add the soaking water from the dried shitake mushrooms to the pot
- Rinse the reconstituted shitakes and add to the pot.
- Add barley and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 40 minutes.
- Stir in kale and apple cider vinegar
- Season with salt and pepper
- Serve hot