Mushroom Leek Barley Soup

by R.B. Quinn and Min Merrell

We’re on a barley kick lately and are loving this Mushroom Leek Barley Soup. Of all the interesting whole grains out there beyond brown rice, pearled barley is the cheapest and easiest to find. A one-pound bag is right there by the dried beans and rice in any supermarket. It may not be as fancy as farro, but barley offers the same nice chew in soups and adds great heft to salads at a fraction of the cost.  

Follow the package directions and cook the barley using the same method for brown rice. It takes about 45 minutes to simmer. I make the whole bag and store it in a covered container in the refrigerator. For the next few days, I add some to my beans and soups and toss some into salads. Once cooked it’s ready to go into lots of things.  

Our Mushroom Leek Barley Soup is a perfect way to enjoy some of that cooked barley in the fridge. You can make your own broth or use your favorite canned or boxed. Leeks and mushrooms, both dried and fresh are the real keys to this wonderful soup. It’s umami in a bowl.  

Cook the leeks and fresh mushrooms at least 20 minutes, and while they’re cooking, soak the dried porcini mushrooms in boiling water. Pour the hot soup over a mound of barley in individual servings or add as much barley as you like to the soup pot.



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