Mushroom barley soup was not something that I grew up eating, but I love it. This recipe is one that I created one evening when I did not know what else to make. I searched through my pantry and refrigerator and started throwing ingredients together. I am always looking for ways to add protein to my semi-vegetarian meals so I added the cannellini beans. They go perfectly with the soup and make it a complete nutritious meal. Serve with some crusty Italian bread and enjoy!
1 – 8 oz. pkg. of white mushrooms
1 – 8 oz. pkg. of cremini mushrooms
3 – cloves garlic
Soffritto (dice by hand so they have some texture)
1 – 15 oz. can cannellini beans
1 – 10.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
32 – oz. chicken stock (preferably organic; vegetable stock may be substituted if you want to keep it vegetarian)
2/3 – cup barley
1/2 – tsp. salt
Ground black pepper to taste
1/4 – tsp. red pepper flakes
2 – tbls. extra virgin olive oil
Prepare the soffritto, add it to a large stock pot and sauté in a little canola oil until it starts to caramelize. Peel the garlic and smash them with the side of a large knife and add to the soffritto. Meanwhile, wipe the mushrooms clean and cut them into 4-6 pieces depending on the size of the mushroom. Add the diced mushrooms to the soffritto and sauté about 5 minutes.
Rinse the barley and drain. Add it raw to the mushroom mixture along with the salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes. Stir together and cook an additional 2 minutes then add the chicken stock and diced tomatoes.
Bring the soup up to a boil then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook about 25 minutes until the barley is cooked. Once the barley is cooked, drain the cannellini beans and add them to the soup. Cook an additional 5 minutes. Serve immediately.