Mushroom Barley Soup

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I vowed that in 2013 I would incorporate lots of healthy nutritious foods into my family’s diet.  More whole grains, the least amount of processed foods as possible and many new recipes- and we’ve kept that promise thus far.  I try to think in “Whole Foods” these days, not white, refined and processed.  Whole meaning real foods (vegetables, fruits, whole grains) not highly processed and what I call “fake foods.”  When I look at a label I want to recognize ingredients, not a long list of words I can hardly pronounce.  And, if’s it’s white (sugar, potatoes, rice or flour) I’d rather pass and so should you.  Those things are like cocaine for your body and they are in everything we eat today.

As a farm kid I grew up homemade country cooking.  My mother is an exceptional cook and baker.  The only problem with a lot of good ole Ozark food is it’s typically loaded with fat – lard and butter were essential items in the kitchen.  Not that I still don’t use both in my own kitchen, but I am trying to turn a new leaf and focus on healthy eating for life.

So, while browsing through the health food store I saw a bag of barley starring me down.  Barley.  Nothing pretty or unique-looking about it.  But, it’s packed full of fiber, low in cholesterol and provides a huge heart healthy punch! “I can figure out how to incorporate barley in our diets…I know I can,” I thought.  And I did.

Nothing warms the soul like a pot of soup.  Well you can add barley to about any soup for an added nutritional punch.  Here’s my own Mushroom Barley Soup  that we enjoyed this week.

Mushroom Barley Soup
by Lane

3 cups of sliced portabella
Olive oil
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
3 large carrots, diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 T. whole wheat flour
1 cup of Cabernet wine
2 quarts of beef broth
1/2 tsp, marjoram
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. sea salt
1 cup whole barley
1/2 cup half and half

In a large stock pot or Dutch Oven over medium high heat place 2 T olive oil.  Add mushrooms, onion, carrots, pepper and garlic and sauté for 6 minutes.  Add the flour and toss lightly for 1 minute.

Deglaze the pot with the wine and add broth and spices, then return to a light boil.  Add the barley and cook for about 25 minutes until the barley is tender and the soup is thickened on medium-low heat.  Finish by adding the half and half and mix to incorporate.

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