Although the calendar says Spring, there’s still a nip in the air most days, and it will be a while before we in the Northeast U.S. can reliably leave the house without wearing a jacket or sweater. So for those days in between seasons, when it can still feel a bit chilly, this mushroom beef barley soup is like a warm hug at the dinner table. You can make this without the beef, but I found it an ideal way to use up a small bit of leftover pot roast I had made a couple of days earlier. It was only a couple of ounces, but when shredded and added to the soup, it added a real depth of flavor.
Use any kind of mushrooms you want – from supermarket white button mushrooms to shiitake. I used baby portobello mushrooms. I also added a parmesan rind to the soup as it was simmering, something I do with many kinds of soups.
It takes only about forty five minutes from start to finish to make this satisfying and delicious soup, and with a side salad and a good loaf of bread, dinner is ready.
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- ¼ cup minced carrot
- ¼ cup minced celery
- ½ cup minced onion
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 T. olive oil
- 2 T. butter
- 8 ounces mushrooms, chopped (I used baby portobello mushrooms, but use any mixture you like)
- 1 cup pearled barley
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 2 cups beef broth
- 1 cup water
- 1 leftover parmesan cheese rind
- 1 cup shredded leftover beef stew (optional)
- salt, pepper
- minced parsley
- Sauté the onion, garlic, celery and carrot in the olive oil over low heat, until limp.
- Add the butter and mushrooms and sauté a few minutes.
- Add the barley, the broths, the water, the parmesan cheese rind, the leftover beef stew plus the salt and pepper.
- Cook over low heat for about 30- 45 minutes or until barley is softened and flavors have blended.
- Add parsley at the end, and serve with grated pecorino or parmesan cheese.
- The barley will swell as the soup cooks and if the soup gets too thick, add more water.