Mushroom Barley Soup

Ah, yes, another soup. It's still February, for three more days anyway, and I expect to be cold for at least one of them. Mushroom Barley to the rescue!

This recipe came from Angel Gayle, special soup correspondent from down the street. If you've been following my blog, you've heard of her by now. If not I'll summarize: her homemade soups are typically a delicious, healthy mish mosh of who knows what depending on what's in her refrigerator, how much time she has and what her mood is like. So recreating them is usually impossible. There are, however, a few exceptions (a.k.a. actual recipes) like this one. Hallelujah.


For a vegetarian version skip the cubed beef and substitute vegetable broth for beef broth. Since I have not done this I can't vouch for the taste.

In a large pot (7-8 quarts or so), heat over medium until hot, 2-3 minutes*:
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

  • 1/2 lb. beef tenderloin* cut into 1 inch cubes

Brown the meat* but don't cook it all the way. When the soup simmers later the meat will cook through.

Next add:
  • 1 onion, diced small, about 1/2 inch (or smaller)
  • 2 carrots, diced about to same size as onion

Simmer about 5 minutes, stirring a few times. Stir in:
  • 12 oz. fresh mushrooms, diced to about 1/2 inch

Simmer until mushrooms' liquid is released and some of the liquid has evaporated, 3-5 minutes.

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Stir for one minute.

  • 1/2 cup diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 1/2 cup pearl barley

Cover and bring to a boil, then turn down heat to low, but high enough to keep it simmering. You can stir once in a while, and taste to see if it needs more salt or pepper. Cook until barley is tender, about 50 minutes, often less.

Stir in:
  • 1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped

**Extra! Extra!**
  • To know if oil is hot enough I like to hold my palm close to the surface or quickly dip a finger in the oil. Risky, yes, so do so for a nanosecond!
  • How in the world did beef tenderloin end up in this soup? "To make it more of meal," I was told by Gayle, who added the pricey ingredient to the recipe. You can certainly leave it out, but it makes the soup divine.
  • If you have never browned meat before, Google it!