This is not a quick recipe. It’s not particularly /hard/, but it takes some time to turn into delicious goodness. Trust me, it’s worth it.
- 3 strips bacon, cut into small pieces *
- 2 medium onions, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 lb button or cremini mushrooms ** – trimmed and quartered
- 2 TBSP tomato paste
- 1 quart beef stock (I use Kitchen Basics Reduced Sodium)
- 1 quart water
- 1 beef boullion cube
- 1 cup pearl barley***
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 TBSP red wine vinegar
You’ll also need a large, heavy bottomed pot like a dutch oven.
Cook the bacon in the pot over MEDIUM heat – you want to render out the fat from the bacon – until it is crispy. Add the onion and cook 5-8 minutes (still over medium heat) until the onions just start to turn golden. Add the garlic and mushrooms and cook until they are tender and the pot is almost dry, 5-10 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook 1 minute more.
Add broth, barley, water, boullion cube, and oregano – bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until the barley is tender, 30-40 minutes. If the soup needs more water to thin it out, add whatever is necessary. Season with plenty of black pepper and stir in the vinegar.
*If you are extremely averse to bacon, you will need either butter or olive oil to saute your veggies in. Please, consider this a “splurge” food, as the bacon really does add a lot of flavor for being so small in comparison with the rest of the soup!
**Yes – one POUND of mushrooms. I use creminis (which are the same as baby portobellos) because they’re the same price if you buy them out of bulk stock instead of in the little wrapped packages. YMMV, as always, depending on season, region, and megamart store.
*** You can use quick-cooking barley if you like. I keep pearl on hand, so that’s what I use. If you use quick-cooking barley, reduce the “simmer” time to 10-15 minutes.