My Blog on WCCO-TV: Bite of Minnesota

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Barley & Lentil Soup with Mushroom Broth

Over at WCCO, I’m writing about an easy for me topic, Swiss chard. While doing research, I did a quick search on my own blog and found I use chard in recipes quite often and they all are delicious one! After finding it for only $1 at Midtown Farmers Market you know I wanted to make my favorite Swiss Chard Quiche Pie. Instead, I added to my list of recipes by cooking up a bit pot of Barley and Lentil Soup:

What makes this soup special is that I used a homemade Porcini Mushroom Broth that is oh so tasty! It calls for a lot of mushrooms (both dried and non-dried) and I’ve been storing mushroom stems and caps in my freezer for the last six months just for this occasion.

Just recently, I received box of dried mushroom varieties from Marx Foods and was told to create great dishes with them. This time I only used the dried porcinis, but I have other plans for the rest of the dried mushrooms. Stay tuned on that front.

(Left to right: Matsutake, Oyster, Porcini, & Lobster)

I started by soaking the porcinis in hot water to reconstitute. Meanwhile, I caramelized the stored mushrooms (a mix of baby Portobello, cremini, and button mushrooms), added some white wine, the soaked porcinis, shallots, garlic, ginger and herbs and reduced it down. After straining, I was left with three cups of delicious mushroom broth and had to resist slurping it right then and there! The broth was not salty and it retained a rich mushroom flavor that was a perfect match for barley soup.

The soup was pretty simple to make but it did require a lot of simmering time, so make sure you have a good hour or so to keep an eye on it.

Barley and Lentil Soup
(6 servings)

1 ½ tsp olive oil
¾ cup chopped onions
¾ cup chopped carrots
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 ¼ tsp ground cumin
5 cups mushroom broth (or vegetable broth)
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
1/3 cup quick cooking barley
1/3 cup dried lentils
2 cups (packed) coarsely chopped Swiss chard leaves
1 tbsp fresh chopped thyme (or other herb)

Heat oil in heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onions and carrots; sauté until onions are golden brown, about 5-7 minutes. Add garlic and stir 1 minute. Mix in cumin; stir 30 seconds. Add broth; bring to boil. Reduce heat; partially cover and simmer 25 minutes. Stir in undrained tomatoes and lentils; cover and simmer until lentils are starting to get tender, about 20 minutes. Add quick-cooking barley, recover, and simmer an additional 10 minutes or until lentils and barley are tender.

Add chard to soup; cover and simmer until chard is tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in thyme. Season soup with salt and pepper. Thin with more broth or water, if desired.


  1. Wow I'm definitely going to try this out! I recently made my first lentil soup and I loved it. I'd love a new lentil soup recipe! *bookmarks*

  2. Nice use for dried mushrooms... I love the earthy flavor that porcinis bring to things. Nice match for the barley, I'll bet!


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