Barley, Lentil & Mushroom Soup

Barley, Lentil & Mushroom Soup

Paula made this soup for her Holiday party this year and it was fabulous! There was plenty of truly delicious food, but I went back for seconds of this soup and was shameless enough to ask for some of the leftovers.

Paula, who is a vegetarian, made this with vegetable stock (fantastic), but I went full on with the beef stock (yummy). Later, I made it again, this time with chicken stock (delicious). Really, you can’t go wrong. I changed the original recipe by cutting back a little on the barley and the lentils, but it is still a very hearty soup, almost a stew. I also made it a teeny tiny bit healthier by cutting back on the oil. You can do whatever feels right to you.

I noticed that this soup definitely improves with age. It was better two hours after I made it and even better the next day, so I recommend that you make it a day ahead if you can. I served it with Cheese Gougères that I whipped up with leftover Christmas cheese, but it would also be fantastic with a nice crusty bread.

Barley, Lentil & Mushroom Soup
Adapted from a recipe at

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, finely chopped
  • 2/3 cup pearl barley
  • 2/3 cup dry brown lentils
  • 1/3 cup dried porcini mushrooms, rinsed
  • 2 quarts stock (vegetable, beef or chicken)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 dry bay leaf
  • 4 cups sliced button mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons red wine
Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion. Cook and stir until onions are limp, but not brown, about 5 minutes.
Mix in the celery and carrot. Cook for another 5 minutes.
Stir in the barley and lentils so they are coated with oil, continue to cook and stir until lightly toasted.
Pour in the beef broth and season with thyme, parsley, pepper and the bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Add the porcini mushrooms.
NOTE: The first time I made this I added the porcini mushrooms whole, the second time I chopped the soaked and rinsed mushrooms finely. I preferred the way that the finely chopped mushrooms flavored and distributed in the soup, but do whatever you like best.
Cover and simmer for the soup for 25 minutes over low heat. Add the sliced button mushrooms.
Cover and continue cooking for another 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Mix in wine during the last 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed before serving.