Wild Rice, Barley, and Mushroom Soup

As with much of the United States, Chicago has had unseasonably warm, even record-breaking temperatures, over the past few weeks in March. However, yesterday it settled into more normal Chicago “Spring” weather: cool, wet, foggy, and misty.

We got home after a day of walking and I felt like soup. Inspired by our recent talk about barley  and some wild rice lingering in the pantry, I decided to whip this soup together. As an aside, can I say that having dried quality mushrooms around is a life saver. They imbue everything with a rich, earthy flavor, and I think that this soup could have been too light without the dried porcinis that I threw in on a kind of whim–I wanted a soup that had a full flavor without being heavy, and this hit the spot. I threw in a cup or so of cooked white beans as I had them ready in the fridge and figured the protein would be nice, but they’re optional and the soup would be great without them too.

As usual, I didn’t have any milk or yogurt on hand to make biscuits as we haven’t been on a big grocery shop lately, so we ate this with buttered arepas, and it was delicious.

Wild Rice, Barley, and Mushroom Soup
  • 1 Tb. butter
  • 1 Tb. olive oil
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 carrots peeled and diced
  • 3 stalks of celery diced
  • 1/2 C. pearl barley
  • 1 tsp. fresh sage (or 1/2 tsp. dried)
  • 1 tsp. Mediterranean seasoning
  • 1/4 c. wild rice
  • 1/2 c. white wine
  • 5 c. stock
  • 1 c. boiling water
  • 1/4 C. dried mushrooms (porcini)
  • 1 C. cooked white beans (optional–I used butterbeans, because I had them around)

Melt butter and oil in heavy pan and add onions. Saute over medium for 5-10 minutes, until translucent. Add garlic cloves and saute for one minute. Add in celery, carrot, sage, and other herbs and saute for a minute. In the meantime, rinse barley and rice under water in sieve, shake to dry and then add to pan. Coat grains with oil and butter andmix thoroughly with other ingredients. Add the wine and stir over medium until absorbed.

Add the stock to mixture and cover with lid and bring to simmer. Simmer halfway covered and bring 1 C. water to a boil. Soak mushrooms in boiling water for 15 minutes. Drain mushrooms, reserving soaking liquid and add liquid to simmering soup. Dice the soaked mushrooms and add to the soup, along with cooked beans, if using. Simmer entire mixture for 1 hour, or until all is done.

5 thoughts on “Wild Rice, Barley, and Mushroom Soup

    • I know, it’s very vague. I buy it from our local spice purveyor, the Middle East Bakery, in bulk. But basically, it’s a mix of typical Mediterranean herbs, like basil, oregano, thyme, marjoram, sage, rosemary, etc. So, you could just use a pinch or two of whatever herbs you have around the house that you’d use in Mediterranean-like dishes, or a mix of two of those herbs above, if that makes sense….

  1. Looks like a nice, hearty entree soup! Cat – what program did you use to antique-ify the photo?
    Sorry Sara, we are taking up all the sun here! Its been in the 60s without a cloud to be seen the whole week in Basel!

    • Instagram! It’s an awesome app to take food photos with. Even my crappy photo skillz look good in Instagram. Right now it’s only for the iPhone, but they’ll be sending out invites for the Android soon, which I’m very much looking forward to….

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