A steaming hot bowl of soup is just perfect for supper. Barley is in the news for its health giving qualities and downright earthy flavor. Interestingly enough, barley was one of the grains people of a generation or two ago used frequently. Back then, it was long cooking barley. Today we have quick cooking barley, as well.
When my kids were infants and lost their appetites when they were sick, my Mom would make barley water. I know it sounds weird, but she cooked pearl barley in water, strained it, then added honey and lemon. It wasn’t the most appealing drink, looks-wise, but they liked it and it helped them get well. Mom said it was nourishing. I just took her word for it and it was years later that I found out barley’s a good source of vitamin E/antioxidants, fiber, niacin, and it helps digestion. It’s a great grain for the heart.
Mushrooms, too, are good for you. They’re low in calories, carbs, fat and sodium. Plus they’re high in water and fiber and an excellent source of potassium, which helps the body process sodium and lower blood pressure.
Debi, part of our Abouteating.com “family” lost this recipe when she moved and wanted to know if I could retrieve it.
Beef barley mushroom soup
My husband, Frank, likes a drizzle of red wine vinegar to finish off the soup. My colleague, Matt Swaim, producer at Sacred Heart Radio, feels like taking a nap after enjoying this soup. So now you’re forewarned! As I always tell you, adjust the seasonings to taste.
6 strips bacon, cut up
2 cups chopped onion
1 tablespoon garlic
1 pound mushrooms, sliced (I used Cremini)
1 scant tablespoon tomato paste
1 quart beef broth plus about a cup of water if necessary
1 cup quick cooking barley
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Sauté bacon until crisp. Add onion and garlic .Cook until onion is starting to brown. Add mushrooms and cook until tender and pot is beginning to get dry. Stir in rest of ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until barley is tender, about 20 minutes. Add water if necessary. Season with salt and pepper.
Tip from Rita’s kitchen:
I like adding a bit of tomato paste to some soups and stews. Freeze leftover paste in a baggie, smoosh the air out and lay it flat. When you need some, you can push out the frozen paste.