Fall is here! Unless you live in Houston… In which case fall may start Dec 21, followed by spring on Dec 22… But I can’t wait any longer to get these soups simmering on the stove!
This is one of my husband’s favorite soups. Its flavor is delicate yet hearty. It is filling yet super healthy. And it’s easy to make.
Most people associate barley with a beef stew. Here, mushrooms and kale are the stars of the show and you can keep it plant-based / vegan by using vegetable broth. You can use chicken broth instead, but then it’s no longer vegan.
I used to make this soup cooking the barley in the broth. The only problem was that if I had leftovers, the barley continued to absorb liquid as it was stored in the refrigerator. I always ended up with a soggy mess, having to add more liquid, which then created more leftovers etc…
So I came up with this neat trick to cook and store the barley separately and only add it to the soup “as needed”. That way, it remains chewy no matter how many days you keep it in the refrigerator.
Warning: if you use my method, a bit of math will be involved! You will need to calculate the amount of barley needed for the amount of soup you are serving. But I bet your cell phone has a calculator function and you won’t even need to wear out your grey matter!
One average serving of soup requires 1-1/2 cup of this preparation + 1/4 cup of cooked barley. Now if you want a bigger serving, you do the math…!
So get to your stove!
Mushroom kale and barley soup
- 3/4 cup whole or pearl barley
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion chopped
- 1/2 pound cremini mushrooms sliced
- 2 large garlic cloves minced
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 8 cups vegetable or chicken stock or 8 cups water + 6 tsp dehydrated vegetable or chicken bouillon
- 1/2 tsp thyme
- 1 pinch nutmeg
- 1 bay leaf
- 8 oz kale stemmed and washed thoroughly, sliced thin.
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Bring a large amount of salted water to a boil, add barley and cook for 45 minutes or per package directions. Drain thoroughly and reserve. This should yield about 2 to 2-1/4 cups of cooked barley.
- Heat the oil in a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium heat, and add the onion. Cook, stirring often, until just about tender, about five minutes.
- Add the sliced mushrooms. Cook, stirring, until the mushrooms are beginning to soften, about three minutes.
- Add the garlic, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, thyme, a pinch of nutmeg. Continue to cook for about five minutes, until the mixture is juicy and fragrant.
- Add the broth or water + bouillon. Add bay leaf. Stir, cover and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes.
- Add the kale and simmer another 5 minutes.
- At this point, your soup is almost ready to eat. One serving of soup requires 1-1/2 cup of this preparation + 1/4 cup of cooked barley. Separate and reserve the portion of soup you will not be eating right away, let it cool and refrigerate it.
- Measure the appropriate amount of barley in proportion to the number of servings you will be eating. As an example, for 2 servings of soup, use about 3 cups of preparation + 1/2 cup of barley. Add the measured barley to the soup and heat it through for a few minutes just before serving. Add fresh ground pepper to taste.
- Keeping the barley separate from the soup prevents is from soaking up more liquid while sitting in the refrigerator. Otherwise the next day your soup will become a soggy mush…