The Remix: Mushroom Barley Soup
A variety of mushrooms makes for a much more interesting soup. Amy Kritzer/JW
active: 30 min
total: 1 hr 15 min
This is the next installment in our series The Remix, in which we seek to gently rework the more challenging dishes in the Jewish culinary canon. With a little bit of love, we’re convinced we can make any dish delicious, even ones that seem a bit bizarre to the modern palate.
Hearty soup is just what the cold weather calls for, and mushroom barley is one of my favorite classics. It’s rich and creamy, yet magically still healthy and easily made vegan. Just the kind of thing we need after a week (or month) of indulging in Hanukkah latkes.
The classic Ashkenazi soup is based on the mushrooms and barley so abundant in Eastern Europe and is often slow cooked for an hour or more. But this can lead to a mushy, colorless mess. Not exactly the comfort food we are craving.
So it’s time to remix. I add tons of different mushrooms for a mix of textures and flavors: shiitake, porcini and baby portabellas. Instead of cooking everything together into a mush, I cook the barley separately and add it at the end after I’ve thickened the soup thickened with roux. The last touch is a parsley garnish, which adds freshness and color. The result is an updated classic with tons of flavor.
Amy Kritzer is a food writer and recipe developer in Austin, Texas. She blogs at What Jew Wanna Eat.