Friday, September 28, 2012

Old Fashioned Mushroom Barley Soup

During my college years I worked part time at the local Kroger as a cashier.  This particular store anchored a large strip mall which included a Woolworths, a JC Penney and much to every one's satisfaction a Sanders store.  Sanders was famous for their ice cream, sundaes, shakes and cakes and back then had a lunch counter that served fabulous food.  When I worked on Saturdays all day I would go to Sanders for their fabulous vanilla milk shake and for their mushroom barley soup.  I just loved the soup and here have tried to re-create it in all its simplicity.

Makes about 4 quarts

3 Tbl olive oil, divided
12 ounces button mushrooms, sliced
12 ounces boneless beef chuck cut into a small dice
2 cloves minced garlic
1 large onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced small
1 carrot, diced small
1/4 tsp dried thyme leaves
1 bay leaf
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 cups beef broth
8 cups chicken broth
1 cup quick cooking pearl barley
2 Tbl Worcestershire sauce

In a large skillet heat 2 Tbl of the olive oil and then add the sliced mushrooms and saute until browned.  Set aside.
In a large soup pot heat the remaining Tbl of olive oil and add the diced beef.  Cook until nice and brown.
Add the onion, carrot, celery, thyme leaves, bay leaf, salt and pepper and continue to cook until the onion softens.
Add the beef and chicken broth, bring up to a boil and then simmer for 45 to 50 minutes, adding the mushrooms at about the 20 minute mark.  Add the barley and simmer another 10 to 15 minutes.
Turn off the heat and stir in the Worcestershire sauce. Re- season with salt and pepper if need be.

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