Hearty Barley Mushroom Soup
Gelina Syfchuck, Registered Dietician
Barley, an often underused grain, is the key ingredient to this recipe!
Although quick and easy to prepare, this soup is loaded with nutrition and will keep you full until your next meal. The thyme against the mushrooms provides a delicious earthy flavour that you are bound to enjoy.
If you are following a gluten-free diet, buckwheat groats or kasha are good substitutes. They cook just as quickly too!
Makes 2 meal-sized servings
• 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
• 1 cup finely chopped onion
• 1 garlic clove, minced
• 1 large carrot, cut vertically then sliced
• 1-2 stalks celery, sliced
• 1-1 1/2 cups mushrooms, ideally assorted
• 1/2 tsp dried thyme
• 1 tsp dried oregano
• 1/2 cup quick-cooking barley
• 1L (4 cups) low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
• 2 Tbsp dry cooking sherry – optional but it adds nice flavour
* If you want to use a different kind of barley see “About Barley” below. If you soak your barley overnight it will keep the cooking time to 15-20 minutes. Soak barley in 1 cup of water for every 1/2 cup of the grain and drain it before using.
1. Heat oil over medium heat in a large soup pot
2. Cook onion, garlic, carrots, celery, and mushrooms until softened, about 5 minutes
3. Add dried herbs, barley, broth and sherry
4. Bring to a boil then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until barley is tender
Hulled/whole grain barley has only the outer husk (hull) removed. It is the most nutritious barley because the bran and germ layers are intact. Rich in fibre and nutrients, hulled barley takes 55-60 minutes to cook.
Pot barley has been polished, removing some of the bran and the germ. It takes about 40-45 minutes to cook.
Pearl barley is polished (pearled) to remove the outer hull and bran layers. This makes a quicker cooking barley at 30-45 minutes.
Quick-cooking barley is pearl barley that has been steamed and dried so that it cooks more quickly at about 15-20 minutes. The nutritional value is the same as the pearl barley.