Cream of Mushroom & Barley Soup

Cream of Mushroom & Barley Soup

30 Reviews
From: EatingWell Soups Special Issue April 2016

This sophisticated take on creamy mushroom soup is rich with earthy porcini mushrooms and has the added goodness of whole-grain barley.

Ingredients 4 servings

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Original recipe yields 4 servings
Nutrition per serving may change if servings are adjusted.
  • ½ cup pearl barley
  • 4½ cups reduced-sodium chicken broth, or mushroom broth (see Shopping Tip), divided
  • 1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup minced shallots, (about 4 medium)
  • 8 cups sliced white mushrooms, (about 20 ounces)
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh sage, or 1 teaspoon dried
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup dry sherry, (see Ingredient Note)
  • ½ cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • ¼ cup minced fresh chives


  • Active

  • Ready In

  1. Bring barley and 1½ cups broth to a boil in a small saucepan over high heat. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer until tender, 30 to 35 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, combine porcinis and boiling water in a medium bowl and soak until softened, about 20 minutes. Line a sieve with paper towels, set it over a bowl and pour in mushrooms and soaking liquid. Reserve the soaking liquid. Transfer the mushrooms to a cutting board and finely chop.
  3. Heat butter and oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add shallots and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add white mushrooms and cook, stirring often, until they start to brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the porcinis, celery, sage, salt and pepper and cook, stirring often, until beginning to soften, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle flour over the vegetables and cook, stirring, until the flour is incorporated, about 1 minute. Add sherry and cook, stirring, until most of the sherry has evaporated, about 1 minute.
  4. Add the soaking liquid and the remaining 3 cups broth; increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the soup has thickened, 18 to 22 minutes.
  5. Add the cooked barley and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until heated through, about 5 minutes more. Stir in sour cream until incorporated. Garnish with chives.
  • Make Ahead Tip: Prepare soup through Step 4. Cover and refrigerate the soup and cooked barley separately for up to 3 days. To serve, combine (Step 5) and reheat.
  • Shopping tip: Look for mushroom broth in aseptic containers in well-stocked supermarkets or natural-foods stores.
  • Ingredient note: Sherry is a type of fortified wine originally from southern Spain. Don't use the “cooking sherry” sold in many supermarkets—it can be surprisingly high in sodium. Instead, purchase dry sherry that's sold with other fortified wines in your wine or liquor store.

Nutrition information

  • Serving size: about 1¾ cups
  • Per serving: 368 calories; 12 g fat(5 g sat); 8 g fiber; 44 g carbohydrates; 17 g protein; 58 mcg folate; 17 mg cholesterol; 5 g sugars; 0 g added sugars; 885 IU vitamin A; 9 mg vitamin C; 92 mg calcium; 4 mg iron; 437 mg sodium; 1,045 mg potassium
  • Nutrition Bonus: Iron (22% daily value)
  • Carbohydrate Servings: 3
  • Exchanges: 1 starch, 2 vegetable, 2 fat

Reviews 30

October 23, 2018
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By: Sonoma1
Wow! This soup was the best mushroom soup I have ever made. I used Wondra flour as some said 2 T wasn't enough. Wondra did the trick with just 2 T. Also used vegetable stock. Very filling. Leftovers great, added more vege stock as it was quite thick. As others suggested added garlic, 2 large cloves minced (or pressed), with the shallots. Made 6 servings for us.
April 11, 2017
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By: Heropon Riki Bestest
Substituted barley for rice; left out salt. This is a wonderful recipe. It's great to serve very hot with some whole grain toast to dip and eat when you're waiting for it to cool off. I have a passion for soup, some say it's a fetish, I say they're crazy (but accurate in their observation). I have this fine appreciation for a good soup, and I declare that this is a good soup. Top notch. I had three bowls and felt very full all while being in a reasonable calorie range. 5/5 You can't add enough chives.
January 05, 2017
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By: Perla I. Diaz-Olivas
This soup was excellent. My grocer was out of porcini so I used dried shiitake instead. I also usd mushroom broth instead of chicken and fresh sage instead of dry. The soup was a little thin but I didn't mind at all because the flavor was wonderful. Also I'm used to soups being that way as I am Mexican and most mexican soups are not thick.
February 16, 2016
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By: EatingWell User
Great Meatless Soup I thought this soup was pretty good. I added additional flour because it didn't thicken up. Also, I added garlic and Italian seasoning. All in all, it was awesome. Pros: Filling, tasty Cons: Recipe needs to increase the amount flour for thickness
February 16, 2016
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By: EatingWell User
I thought this soup was pretty good. I added additional flour because it didn't thicken up. Also, I added garlic and Italian seasoning. All in all, it was awesome.
December 13, 2014
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By: Heidi Mayer
Super Mushroom Soup Loved this soup, as did my husband! The dry sherry, dried porcini mushroom, and the soaking juice added a sophisticated, wonderful dimension to the average mushroom soup recipe. And it's healthy, as an added bonus! This is a keeper recipe. (Note to previous reviewer: I also used only 2 tablespoons flour, and it seemed to work. Maybe there was too much liquid in the vegetables when you added the flour?) Pros: Perfect for a gloomy, cold day Cons: No cons
February 21, 2014
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By: EatingWell User
Too runny Followed this recipe to a T. I had my doubts that 2 tablespoons of flour would be enough to thicken approximately 6 total cups of liquid. I was right. My soup looked like runny gravy. It tasted really good, but had zero appeal in the looks department. If I had to guess, I'd say this needs about 1/4 cup flour to thicken properly. Pros: Porcinis add a nice, deep flavor Cons: Not enough flour/thickening agent
November 19, 2013
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By: EatingWell User
Loved It Absolutely loved this. Didnt use porcini as fresh mushrooms are cheap at the moment. I did make my own stock which took extra time but totally worth it. The barley was really good with the mushrooms Pros: Tasty Cons: Takes time
October 29, 2013
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By: Jennifer26
I had high expectations for this, but it was just okay. It didn't thicken for me, and wasn't as flavorful as I had hoped it would be. I tried the Sour Cream Mushroom Soup, also on this website, and I thought it was quite a bit better, a lot easier, and less costly. I'm not saying it's bad, but I just wish I didn't have all of this to eat by myself.
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