homemade caramels, and being surrounded by boxes of See's chocolates and cookies, at my office, made my pancrease work overtime. By the time I packed up our Christmas decorations, I was craving vegetables.
America's Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook, signed by Christopher Kimball. If you look at my recipe index, you will see that I have made any of their recipes (including Cook's Illustrated and Cook's Country). I decided to revisit the recipes in this book, and the Mushroom-Barley Soup sounded perfect, given that we were in the middle of a California "cold snap" (which is nothing compared to those of you who live in the Chicago area).
The soup is pretty straightforward to make. Cooking time is about 50 minutes, because barley can take that long to cook. I decided to shave off 30 minutes of the cooking time, by using my pressure cooker to prepare the barley-- which took a total of 20 minutes. While the barley was cooking, I prepped the onion, carrots and mushrooms.
I was very pleased with the outcome of this soup recipe, as was my son. My husband ate it, but he just doesn't get all that excited about mushroom soup. More for us! The pearl barley adds a nice texture, and I love the nuttiness of this grain. To make this soup a true vegetarian dish, I see no reason why vegetable broth can't be substituted for chicken broth-- which I used.
TASTING NOTES: Adding a squeeze of fresh lemon juice gave a nice balance of acidity, IMHO. My absolutely favorite soup is Cream of Mushroom soup. The difference is that this soup is healthier because there isn't any heavy cream in it. I would definitely make this soup again, and not feel one iota of guilt for having seconds-- which is exactly what I did!
A printable recipe card is at the end of this post.