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In The (Recipe) Box: Mushroom Barley Soup

I hate mushrooms. Why then is this a recipe that is comprised, thirdly, of mushrooms? Because it’s that good. If I, a hater of all things fungus (except blue cheese), think this is a recipe worth knowing, you should hear me out. It’s easy and just about idiot-proof—I’ve put that to the test a couple times–along with with being both comforting and healthy. It’s another of my go to vegetarian meals and really filling.

The recipe below is really a rough guideline. If you want more mushrooms or no onions, go ahead, it won’t ruin it.

  • 4-6 mushrooms (you can use dried if you rehydrate them but this is based off fresh)
  • 3-6 tbsp pearl barley
  • 2 qts water
  • 2 tsp or less salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 2 onions diced
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • ¾ cup milk

Put water in a 3qt pot on low heat. Throw barley, salt, and pepper in and allow to cook uncovered for at least an hour. The water will turn murky tan at some point and look like barley tea; this is normal.

Wash the mushrooms and slice thinly. Combine those and the diced onions in a saute pan with the butter to brown them. Use medium heat but watch it to make sure they don’t burn. Add to the soup and cook another 30 minutes.
For the last part, you can either combine the milk and flour in a small bowl and stir until the powder is incorporated into the liquid or you can add them to the soup separately. If you do the latter, I suggest adding the flour very, very sparsely or it’ll clump up and then you have to try to smash the lumps and stir it a lot… all trial and error. Cook another 15 minutes. Taste and then decide if you need more seasoning.

If you need to avoid dairy for one reason or another, olive oil can be used instead of butter and a milk substitute would suffice.

Brittany Prouser
Epoch Women Author

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