They were surprised by how easy it was to make this lentil soup, and loved the red lentils that cooked down so quickly. I served this hearty lentil soup with a light green salad with fresh red currants, oranges, and toasted almonds (drizzled with a fresh orange vinaigrette), along with some toasted whole grain bread, that had been lightly brushed with a mixture of olive oil, a Fines Herbes blend, salt and pepper. This group of seniors enjoyed a simple, but elegant and healthy lunch.
|Here’s the fresh green salad I served with the Simple Lentil Soup.|
Since the goal of these soup cooking classes is to encourage seniors to get back into the kitchen to cook, I approached this recipe the same way as I did for the Simple Lentil Soup. I wrote a simple recipe with a short list of basic ingredients, and then included optional add-ins for anyone a bit more adventurous, or looking for a little more depth of flavor.
A Simple Mushroom Barley Soup
Cremini mushrooms are richer in flavor than white button mushrooms, but any mushrooms will do. Although the basic recipe is delicious on its own, I would encourage you to try some of the optional add-in’s, especially the porcini mushrooms, tomato paste and soy sauce. These add another layer of flavor (more umami) and richness to this soup.
Mushroom Barley Soup
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion finely chopped
- 1 carrot finely chopped
- 1 stalk celery finely chopped
- 10 ounces cremini mushrooms sliced
- 1 cup barley
- 10-12 cups low sodium vegetable or chicken broth
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme or 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms soaked in 2 cups water
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 cup chopped tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 1/2 cup fresh chopped parsley
- a few splashes of sherry
- Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, celery, and mushrooms, and cook until vegetables are softened and mushrooms are a nice deep brown, about 10 minutes.
- Add barley, 10 cups of stock, and thyme.
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, and cook, covered, until barley is tender, about 1 hour. Add more broth if soup is too thick. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Instructions for Add-Ins
- Add garlic in Step 1.
- If using porcini mushrooms, reduce stock by 2 cups (use 8-10 cups of stock). To prepare porcini mushrooms, soak in 2 cups of water for 20 minutes until softened. Strain soaking liquid and reserve for soup. Chop rehydrated porcini mushrooms into small pieces.Add porcini mushrooms, porcini soaking liquid, oregano, tomato paste, chopped tomatoes and soy sauce in Step 2.
- Add parsley and a few splashes of sherry in Step 3.
|Use Cremini Mushrooms if you can find them. They have more flavor than White Button Mushrooms.|
|Dried Porcini Mushrooms|
|Rehydrated Porcini Mushrooms (save the soaking liquid for the soup)|