Savoury Morel mushroom and Barley Soup

foodblog-pic.jpgLast night, feeling the fall spirit, I was inspired to a traditional mushroom barley soup with a nourishing spin.

Saturday I scored some fresh grass-fed beef bones from my favorite rancher, Greg of Rocky Canyon Ranch(see post 11/14/07). I made a batch of rich delicious beef broth. It gelled well because of all the gelatin in the joints. Beautiful! What a great base for a nourishing soup.

The morels have a story of their own. This summer my family spent our annual two weeks at Lake Chelan, WA. We camp at the state park on the lake and do nothing but swim and play all day. Saturday hosts a farmers market in the town of Chelan and it is not to be missed. The Chelan area is world famous as one of the largest growers of apples and pears. Summer brings a wonderful abundance, including wild harvested dry morels. A sweet Hispanic woman with a beautiful smile told me of her husband hiking and gathering the morels. The price was a little more than I had planned to spend but they inspired and intrigued me. I have been waiting for the perfect recipe to use them for and here it was.

So on to the soup. I started with some sauteed onions in a little olive oil. Once they had some color I added big chunks of garlic and added some crimini mushrooms. Once they had cooked down a bit, I deglazed the pan with some white wine. Cooking the wine off, I added the wonderfully rich broth and barley. I chose to use the more whole grain of the barley instead of pearled barley, which has had most of it’s fiber removed, . Then I tossed in some thyme, black pepper, rosemary, and the morels. Once it came to a boil I reduced it to a simmer and cooked it for about an hour, maybe an hour and a half. I knew it was done when I tested the barley. I like it when it mushes in your mouth at first bite but you make like it a little more firm. Test to you taste at 45 minutes and keep cooking until you’re happy with the results. Salt and pepper to taste.

I garnished with some parmagiano reggiano shavings that complemented the flavors nicely.

Enjoy!

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2 Comments on “Savoury Morel mushroom and Barley Soup”

  1. Becky
    November 15, 2007 at 5:43 pm #

    Great to hear from you, Melissa! Looks like you’ve found your niche in So Cal.

    And thanks for pointing out that pearled barley is not whole; I have students make that mistake all the time. But I don’t see a mention of where the morels went in the soup!

    Be well–
    Becky

  2. Angela
    November 15, 2007 at 9:19 pm #

    I’m so impressed!

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