Sunday, December 29, 2019

Mark Bittman's Mushroom Barley Soup: Simple Comfort for Souper (Soup, Salad, & Sammie) Sundays

I wanted a simple soup to close out the year with and I have been craving mushroom soup and barley so a quick Internet search turned up Mark Bittman's Mushroom Barley Soup.

It's simple and wanting the most mushroom flavor possible, I added some porcini broth cubes and Trader Joe's Umami Seasoning Blend to pump it up, along with a shot of sherry vinegar.

Mushroom Barley Soup
Slightly Adapted from Mark Bittman via
(Makes 4 Servings)

1 oz dried porcini mushroom (about 1 cup)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 lb shitake or button mushrooms, stemmed & roughly chopped (I used cremini & button)
3 medium carrots, peeled & sliced
1 cup pearl barley
salt and pepper
1 bay leaf
1 Tbsp soy sauce (I used low-sodium tamari)
(I added 2 porcini bouillon cubes)
(I added 1 Tbsp Trader Joe's Umami Seasoning Blend)
(I added 1 Tbsp sherry vinegar)

Soak porcini in 3 cups very hot water. Put olive oil in a medium saucepan and turn heat to high. Add shiitakes and carrots, and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to brown. Add barley, and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until it begins to brown; sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Remove the porcini from their soaking liquid, and reserve liquid. Sort through porcini and discard any hard bits. 

Add porcini to pot and cook, stirring, for about a minute. Add bay leaf, mushroom soaking water and 3 cups additional water (or stock, if you prefer). Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer; cook until barley is very tender, 20 to 30 minutes. Add soy sauce, and taste. Add salt if necessary and plenty of pepper. Serve hot.

Notes/Results: Just a simple soup, full of good mushroom flavor and chewy barley. I think adding the porcini broth cubes and dried porcinis gave this soup even more flavor and the tamari and the sherry vinegar add a richness to the broth. Hearty and filling without being heavy, I am looking forward to lunches in my cold office this week. I would make it again.

Linking up with I Heart Cooking Clubs where it is December Potluck this week.

Tina of Squirrel Head Manor is here in the Souper Sundays kitchen with A Portuguese Soup: Caldo Verde that she made for Food 'N Flix. She says, "Over a year ago Debra at Eliot’s Eats hosted for Love, Actually and I participated with my favorite storyline, Jamie & Aurelia’s. Without looking at my offering then I laughed once I chose to make a Portuguese soup. Again. Ha! This time it’s not a  Fish Chowder but a Portuguese classic called Caldo Verde, a pantry soup for hard times. I found the recipe at The Guardian in Nigel Slater’s column. A British cook inspired a Portuguese Soup for a London based Christmas movie. Brilliant."

Thanks to Tina for joining me this week!

(If you aren't familiar with Souper Sundays, you can read about of the origins of it here.
If you would like to join in Souper (Soup, Salad, and Sammie) Sundays, I would love to have you! Here's how...

To join in this week's Souper Sunday's linkup with your soup, salad or sandwich:

  • Link up your soup (stew, chili, soupy curries, etc. are fine), salad, or sandwich dish, (preferably one from the current week or month--but we'll take older posts too) on the picture link below and leave a comment on this post so I am sure not to miss you. Also please see below for what to do on your blog post that you link up to Souper Sundays in order to be included in the weekly round-up.

On your entry post (on your blog):
  • Mention Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammies) Sundays at Kahakai Kitchen and add a link back to this post. (Not to be a pain but it's polite and only fair to link back to events you link up at--so if you link a post up here without linking back to this post or my blog on your post, it will be removed.)
  • You are welcome to add the Souper Sundays logo to your post and/or blog (completely optional).

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter
Have a happy, healthy week!


  1. This looks so savory and full of flavor. I've been eyeing that umami seasoning at Trader Joe's. Seems like something I'd like, but sometimes I feel like their items are hit and miss. Do you like it?

  2. The soup looks really wonderful. Your additions look ingenious for adding lots of flavor.

    Best... mae at


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