Mushroom Barley Soup

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Yield: 4 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Source:

Bacon adds a smoky flavor to this earthy soup; tomato paste adds a touch of sweetness.

Ingredients

3 strips bacon (3 to 4 ounces), cut into 1/4-inch pieces

1 large onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

Coarse salt and ground pepper

1 pound button or cremini mushrooms, trimmed and halved

2 teaspoons tomato paste

2 cans (14.5 ounces each) reduced-sodium beef broth

1 cup quick-cooking barley

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon red-wine vinegar

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Instructions

1. In a large pot (6 to 8 quarts), cook bacon over medium-high heat, stirring often, until crisp, 3 to 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium.

2. Add onion and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is starting to brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Add mushrooms; cook, stirring often, until they are tender and pot is almost dry, 5 to 10 minutes (depending on type of mushrooms). Stir in tomato paste, and cook 1 minute more.

3. Add broth, barley, oregano, and 3 cups water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, partially covered, until barley is tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Add more water to thin soup, as needed. Season with salt and pepper, and stir in vinegar. Ladle into bowls; sprinkle with parsley.

Notes

Use quick-cooking barley as a time-saver. It has the same nutty flavor as pearl barley, but it cooks in approximately half the time.

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