Mushroom Barley Soup


Continuing on my streak of effortless wedding-planning-friendly meals, I prepared a big ‘ol pot of Mushroom Barley Soup to carry me through the week. The Astronomer isn’t too keen on either portobellos or buttons, so it’s been up to me and my random weeknight dinner guests to plow through this monster serving of fungi goodness. The best part of the soup is its genuinely earthy flavor—the taste of mushroom is bold and unmistakable. I also appreciate how the soup is perfectly hearty, thanks to two varieties of mushrooms and toothy grains of barley, without being heavy.

The original recipe calls for a combination of cremini and portobello mushrooms. However, if cremini or portobello are unavailable, white button mushrooms can be substituted. I highly recommend serving this soup with toasty slices of cheesy garlic bread for crunch and richness.

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 onion, chopped fine
  • 1 pound cremini mushrooms, stemmed and quartered
  • 1 pound portobello mushrooms, stempped and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • Salt
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped medium
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 9 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup pearl barley
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried
  • Pepper


Melt the better in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.


Stir in the mushrooms and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook until the mushrooms have softened and browned, 10-15 minutes.


Stir in the carrots and garlic and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the broth, barley, thyme, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a simmer and cook until the barley is tender, about 50 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste before serving.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.


Recipe from The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook

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