Mushroom and Barley Soup

Perfect for a Fall day, this soup is warming and hearty, but not heavy. Served with a beautiful baguette from Beyond Bread, this made a delicious dinner for two with plenty of leftovers.

You can make this as a vegan soup, or use chicken or beef broth. The soup consists of some veggies, both dried and fresh mushrooms, a splash of sherry, tomato paste, and broth. A good quality broth is important here, so homemade or a better quality like Pacific would make a tasty soup.

The recipe comes from the Yvette van Boven’s ‘Home Made Winter’ cookbook. Her recipe calls for spelt, but gives the option of barley, which I used because that was what I had in my cupboard. I added a few extra carrots, less oil, and a dab of butter at the end. I used chicken broth because I had it on hand, but look forward to trying it with mushroom broth. I changed the order of when to add the salt and pepper, adding it at the end so it doesn’t get over-salted, and so the salt doesn’t make the veggies mushy. As well, adding pepper too soon can make it the soup taste bitter. My scale is broken right now, so I guessed that 25 grams of dried mushrooms is about 1/2 cup, and that tasted great. For the fresh mushrooms I used a combination of Button and Cremini, the white and brown ones you find easily in the grocery store. If you substitute for more interesting mushrooms, please let me know in the comments below what you used and how you enjoyed it!

What you need:

  • 25 grams dried mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 500 grams (about 1 lb) fresh mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
  • 100 grams (about 1/2 cup) barley or spelt
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • a splash or two of dry sherry
  • 1 litre (4 cups) mushroom, vegetable or chicken stock
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon butter (optional)

What you do:

  1. Place the dried mushrooms in a bowl and pour hot or boiling water over them, just enough to cover. Let that sit for about 20 minutes while you get started with chopping.
  2. Once the onions, carrots and celery have been chopped, heat the olive oil on medium heat, in a large pot. Sauté the vegetables until the onions begin to soften.
  3. Stir in the garlic, then add the mushrooms. Sauté the mushrooms until they begin to release their juices, about 10 minutes.
  4. Raise the heat and stir in the barley or spelt, allowing it to absorb the mushroom juices.
  5. Add the mushroom soaking water and the tomato paste, cooking until you smell a sweet aroma, and then add the splash of sherry.
  6. Add the broth and the soaked mushrooms (I chopped mine first), then bring it to a simmer. Leave it simmering on low heat until the barley/spelt is cooked to an al dente texture. I checked mine after 30 minutes and it was almost done.
  7. Season with salt and pepper, and add a dab of butter if you wish.
  8. Serve with some gorgeous bread and enjoy!

Vegan Cream of Mushroom Soup

vegan cream of mushroom soup - trust in kim

I love creamy soups, but I don’t love cream, so I’m always looking for ways to get the texture and taste without the heaviness of cream.  I’ve heard of using cashew cream before, and finally got around to trying it.  The verdict? So good! Next time I’d leave some of the mushroom pieces whole, but this is great as is.

I found this recipe on Joy the Baker.

What you need:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound cremini mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 cups vegetable broth (I used chicken)
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • salt to taste

For the Cashew Cream:

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 1/2 cup water

What you do:

  1. Soak the cashews in the half cup of water and set aside.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large pot on medium heat and add the onions, sautéing them until they are slightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for a minute more, then add the mushrooms, soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce.  Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add the broth and cook until the mushrooms are soft, about 10-15 minutes.
  4. In the meantime, puree the cashews until they combine with the water to make a smooth, thick liquid.
  5. When it is ready blend the soup until there are no large chunks of mushroom.  Stir in the cashew cream.  The original recipe says to strain the soup now, but I liked it the way it was.
  6. Reheat the soup and serve.

This one also freezes well. Enjoy!