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Author Notes: I find this soup to be the ultimate weeknight comfort food, in that it’s satisfying without making me too lethargic to get off the sofa after eating it. The woody mushrooms and rustic barely is a classic combination, made all the more smoky and flavorful by adding bacon, thyme, cumin, and paprika. I use cremini mushrooms to maximize the earthiness of this soup, and white beans to give it a rich body. —PhoebeLapine
- 2 large shallots, diced
- 2 slices bacon, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 quart mushroom stock
- 1 quart chicken stock (or double up the mushroom)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 cup pearl barley, rinsed well
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- 1 lb cremini mushrooms, quartered
- 1 15oz can white beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 teaspoon salt
- In a large Dutch oven or stock pot, heat 1/2 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Saute the shallot until translucent, then add the bacon and cook until browned. Add the garlic, red pepper, cumin, thyme, and paprika and cook until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.
- Cover the onion bacon mixture with the stock and bring to a boil. Add the barley and bay leaf, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer covered for 30 minutes. Add the mushroom and carrots, and continue to simmer covered for another 20-30 minutes until vegetables are tender. Add the white beans and simmer for 5-10 minutes more.
- When the barley is tender, remove the bay leaf and taste for seasoning. Serve hot, or freeze extra portions for a lazy weekday evening in front of the sofa.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Mushroom Soup