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Mushroom Barley Soup

When there's a chill in the air I always think of this rich and savory Mushroom Barley Soup. This recipe is from an old neighborhood tavern that began as a roadhouse serving the local trades and evolved into a house of fine dining. All the while, it was run by multiple generations of the same family.

The old roadhouse was known for their Mushroom Barley Soup and signature cocktail, the Golden Cadillac, The story around town was that on a busy Saturday night you never knew if the number of golden Cadillacs in the parking lot out numbered the ones served at the bar! However, everyone knew that the Mushroom Barley Soup was warming the soul of all.

Mushroom Barley Soup

Approximate Servings: 10 - 8oz serving


1 large beef shank, about 2-3 lbs.

3 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 large yellow onion, rough diced

1 large rib of celery, rough diced

14 oz. dried mushrooms

1 cup pearl barley

1/4 lb. thickly sliced bacon

1 large yellow onion, diced

3/4 lb. fresh sliced onions

2 cups fresh sliced mushrooms

1 teaspoon curry powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper


Brown beef shank in large heavy saucepot, add in oil and garlic. Add 12 cups of water. Add onion and celery, Heat to a rolling boil, reduce heat, and simmer until the beef is tender. Strain beef stock. Reserve.

Remove meat from the bones and set aside for a future step.

Reconstitute dried mushrooms in warm water; let stand 1 hour until rehydrated. Drain all the access water, and slice.

Place barley in just enough water in a saucepan. Bring to a rolling boil. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes; drain excess water. Stir the rehydrated mushrooms and barley into the stock.

In a 350 degree oven, cook the bacon on a cookie sheet until crisp, reserving fat and placing bacon on a paper towel-lined platter. Then crumble for garnish.

Using 4 tablespoons of the collected bacon fat, sauté the onion and celery over medium heat until transparent, add the fresh mushrooms and cook until tender. Stir into the soup stock. Add the curry powder, salt, and pepper.

Cover and simmer for 1 hour, add the reserved meat. Garnish each serving with sliced fresh mushrooms and the crumbled bacon.

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