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May 13 / JW

Mushroom, Barley and Chicken Soup


This soup is really really good. It’s really filling too, and it makes a ton, so you will definitely have some to freeze. I decided to use 2 types of mushrooms here, just to boost the mushroom flavour up a notch.

So first thing I did was cook the chicken in a cast iron pan, on medium high to really get a good brown crust on it(that you can’t get from a nonstick!). Obviously feel free to use leftover chicken, or no chicken, or a storebought chicken, whatever floats your boat. Just make sure you have a couple cups of chicken, chopped into bite size pieces.

Next, chop your root veg into a fine dice.I used carrot, celery and leek this time.  Also slice your mushrooms.

Get a 4 qt dutch oven and heat to medium high. Add the mushrooms, but don’t add any salt. You want them to get nice a caramalized so don’t be tempted to stir them around alot either.

Get a small bowl and add in your dried shitakes(which can be found in the asian isle) and some hot water. Let them hang out for about 5-10 minutes while your mushrooms are cooking and you finish chopping your other veggies.

When the mushrooms have browned, add in all your other veggies, season, and turn to medium low.

Note: As you can see I also added a zucchini at the last minute.

Next, chop up your shitakes. You want to cut off the stem though because it is really tough, so cut that off and thinly slice the rest. Add the mushroom water to the pan.

Next, add sliced shitakes, chicken, and stock. Stir, then add barley. I added an additional 1 1/2 cups of water because the barley is really gonna absorb a lot of liquid. Cover loosely and let simmer on low for about 35 minutes or until the barley is cooked.

At the last minute before serving, add a handful of fresh spinach and let it wilt down in the hot soup. Serve with some crusty bread.

Here’s the Recipe:

Mushroom, Barley and Chicken Soup


  • 1 Cup Barley
  • 4 Cups Homemade or organic chicken stock
  • 5 Large Button mushrooms
  • 5 Dried Shitakes (plus rehydrating liquid)
  • 2 Carrots, diced
  • 2 Celery Sticks, diced
  • 1 Leek, thinly slice(or 1/2 onion diced)
  • 3 Chicken thighs, or equivalent
  • 1 Zucchini, diced
  • 1 Cups Fresh spinach
  • Additional water or stock as needed(up to 2 cups)
  • salt and pepper, olive oil, for cooking

Cooking Directions

  1. Cook chicken, let cool and chop into pieces.
  2. Dice carrot, leek, and celery, and zucchini, set aside.
  3. Slice mushrooms, and add to hot dutch oven with some olive oil.
  4. Place dried mushrooms in a small bowl of hot water and let sit for about 5-10 minutes.
  5. Remove stems and thinly slice.
  6. When mushrooms are browned, add veggies, mushroom liquid, stock, and chicken.
  7. Stir and season. Add barley, and let cook on low for about 30-40 minutes.
  8. Add more water or stock as needed(I used approx. 1.5 C of water)
  9. Right before serving, and a handful of spinach.


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  1. Emily / May 14 2011

    Mmm, looks great!

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