CEimB Mushroom Barley Soup

by Joanne on January 6, 2011

This week’s recipe from Craving Ellie is Beef and Mushroom Barley Soup.  Ted’s version has the beef and my version is simply Mushroom Barley Soup.  Both versions worked to warm us up on a cold winter night.


Picked by Jennifer of The Rookie Baker.  Make sure to visit her site because she’s no “rookie”. There’s some awesome looking treats going on over there!

Back to the soup…. I wasn’t crazy about the “beef” part of the soup but the recipe was something I hadn’t made before and different is always fun to try.  Ted was looking forward to having a little bit of red meat since he doesn’t eat that much of it and the stew meat I bought was very lean.   As for me, I was fine with simply a soup rich in fiber and filling by way of lots of veggies.


The meal took about an hour to prepare.  It would have taken longer but I pre-soaked my organic Pearl Barley so it softened by the time I added it to the soup.  I pre soaked for 4 hours but it doesn’t need that long. I just put it in a bowl at lunch time and went back to work. Hence 4 hours.

I also reduced the 6 cups of broth to 2 cups for two reasons:  1. I didn’t want tons of liquid and 2. the barley had already soaked up some water from pre-soaking and wouldn’t have been able to absorb all 6 cups.


Mushroom Barley Soup (add Beef if you want, it’s listed below)

  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 3/4 lb lean stew meat cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • salt and pepper to taste

*If you add the beef, heat the oil, brown the beef for about 5 min. total, remove to a paper towel lined plate and set aside.

  • 1/2  medium onion, chopped
  • 8 oz sliced portabella mushrooms
  • 1/2 bag sliced carrots
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 cups “NO-CHICKEN” broth
  • 15 oz can diced tomatoes – with juice
  • 1/2 cup hulled or pearled barley (pre soak for 4 hours to save time)
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • parsley to garnish

Add the 2 TBS oil to a soup pot and heat on medium – high.  *If you added meat, you need an additional 2 TBS oil.  Add the onion and mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes.

Add the carrots, celery and garlic and cook for 5 more minutes.  Stir occasionally.

Add the broth, tomatoes, barley, and thyme (ADD THE MEAT HERE ALSO IF USING) and bring to a boil. 

Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 45 minutes (60 minutes if adding beef – it will need to tenderize) or until the barley is tender. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve with a little bit of parsley.


Would I make it again? It’s not high on the list.  The barley just didn’t do it for me.  Ted liked the flavor but had the same feeling about the barley – not tops in the “great grains” department.


BUT… we did enjoy the flavor and as always, it was a good pick of the week.


Good going Jennifer. Soup works on a cold night better than any other meal.

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  • At 2011.01.06 06:49, Kayte said:

    I figured that beef was not going to be a key player in your bowl…and I figured you would make Ted a special bowl all his own because you are so good about making Ted happy each week! Both versions looks just great! We really liked this and it made so much that I had some left over for lunch a couple days later…even better as the flavors had sort of married together more. Great photos. And, Happy New Year to you and Ted! Best wishes for 2011!

    • At 2011.01.06 10:45, Joanne said:

      Thanks Kayte

      • At 2011.01.06 07:29, Heather said:

        Sorry it wasn’t a winner. I’m not a huge fan of barley either. Something about the texture weirds me out.
        Have a great day, Joanne!

        • At 2011.01.06 10:46, Joanne said:

          Most of Ellies recipes are pretty good and this one wasn’t too bad just not one of the better ones.

          • At 2011.01.06 09:41, peggy said:

            As always, you did a great job. It looks so good. Wish I had a bowl of it for lunch today instead of the pizza I am planning to eat. I love soup in the winter months!! Thanks for your suggestions to me the other day. 🙂

            • At 2011.01.06 10:46, Joanne said:

              Pizza sounds great to me!

              • At 2011.01.06 11:12, Chaya said:

                I used brown rice instead of the barley and I think that is an improvement. We have learned to really love brown rice.

                Yours certainly looks great.

                • At 2011.01.06 12:49, Monet said:

                  I have been craving soup carrots. For some reason, I don’t like eating raw carrots, but I adore them when they’ve been softened and stewed in a pot of soup. This sounds like a healthy and satisfying meal. Thank you for sharing!

                  • At 2011.01.06 21:09, The Rookie Baker said:

                    Both versions look great! Thanks for cooking along with me this week!

                    • At 2011.01.07 22:33, Liz said:

                      Looks delicious, Joanne! Hope you are having a great 2011 so far, and I look forward to catching back up with CEiMB now that the holidays are behind us 🙂

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