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Barley Soup With Mushrooms and Microgreens

Out of a can, a couple of my favorite soups are barley-based - either chicken or beef with barley, I'm not picky! Good flavor, good fiber - and there's something about barley that "beefs" up a soup in terms of chunkiness and flavor.

Recently, I came across this recipe in the New York Times for Barley Soup With Mushrooms and Kale - which I made in a modified form for dinner Monday evening last week - it was delicious!

Kale wasn't easy to find - and being a regular Trader Joe's shopper I had noticed they carry a small box of "microgreens" - so I substituted those for the kale.

Trader Joe's also sells a dried mushroom medley (which includes some porcini mushrooms) which I used to replace the dried porchini's ($1.99 for the medley vs $5.99 for the pure dried porcinis!) I also had a cup of beef broth left over so it went into the soup along with a quart of chicken broth instead of just chicken broth. Otherwise, I pretty much followed the rest of the recipe.

Ingredients
  • 1 package Trader Joe's Dried Mushroom Medley (0.88 oz package)
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, as needed
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 package Trader Joe's sliced cremini mushrooms
  • 2 tsp Trader Joes' crushed garlic
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 3/4 cup pearl barley
  • 1 1/2 quarts organic chicken stock
  • A bouquet garni made with a few sprigs each thyme and parsley, and a bay leaf and a Parmesan rind
  • 1 package Trader Joe's Microgreens
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
Directions
  1. Place the dried mushrooms in a Pyrex measuring cup. Pour on two cups boiling water. Let sit for 20-30 minutes. Strain the water and the mushrooms out of the bowl.

  2. Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy soup pot over medium heat and add the onion. Cook, stirring often, until just tender, about five minutes, then add the sliced cremini mushrooms. Cook, stirring, until the mushrooms are beginning to soften, about three minutes. Add the garlic and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Continue to cook for about five minutes, until the mixture is juicy and fragrant.

  3. Add the reconstituted dried mushrooms, the barley, the mushroom soaking liquid, and the stock or water. Salt to taste. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer 45 minutes.

  4. Add the microgreens into the soup and continue to simmer for another 15 to 20 minutes. The barley should be tender and the broth aromatic. Remove the bouquet garni, taste and adjust salt, add a generous amount of freshly ground pepper and serve.

[First posted: March 22, 2009]

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