14 November 2010

Mushroom & Barley Soup

Since I promised this recipe to a friend I thought I'd make it the first post so I can finally get it shared with her. The original version comes from the 3 Books in 1 Crock-Pot cookbook, which has a whole bunch of awesome recipes. I've made a few changes to the recipe (because after all, a recipe is only a suggestion!), most notably doing half button and half crimini mushrooms instead of just buttons. I have made it with just crimini as well and there didn't seem to be much of a difference so I do the half & half just to save a few pennies at the grocery store. I'm loving slow cooker cooking more and more - and winter is really a perfect time to utilize this versatile kitchen appliance.

Be warned on this one though - the smell that fills the house is so good that you'll be salivating long before it's time to eat. This soup is so hearty that even the meat lovers in my family didn't miss it - and actually didn't even notice that it was meatless. Score one for me. Add some nice crusty bread and you're good to go!

Don't judge the soup by the quality of my photo...

Mushroom & Barley Soup

9 cups chicken or vegetable broth (I like to use half low sodium)
1 – 8 oz package sliced fresh button mushrooms
1 – 8 oz package sliced fresh crimini mushrooms
1 large onion, chopped
3 large carrots, peeled & diced
3 stalks celery, diced
1/2 cup uncooked pearl barley (I like thick soup so would make it a generous 1/2 cup)
1/2 oz dried porcini mushrooms, broken into pieces
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp salt (if desired)
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp black pepper

Combine all ingredients in slow cooker and stir until well blended.  Cover; cook on low for 4-6 hours.

Makes 8 servings.


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