Mushroom, Spinach, Barley, & Bacon Soup

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My brother gave me Ottolenghi’s “Plenty” for Christmas- it was on my wish list. To be silly he gave it to me with another cookbook titled “Bacon Nation”! The funniest part of this story is that I tried a recipe from “Bacon Nation” first. 🙂 This soup was ultra-flavorful, hearty, and LOADED with mushrooms. The spinach and carrots gave an otherwise “brown” soup a wonderful pop of color. The house smelled divine as it cooked too! This recipe was adapted from Bacon Nation by Peter Kaminsky & Marie Rama.

Yield: Serves 8 to 10

  • 8 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/4-inch pieces (I used nitrate-free)
  • 2 medium-size onions, finely chopped
  • 24 oz cremini mushrooms, wiped clean, stems trimmed, and sliced into 1/2-inch thick pieces
  • 10 oz white button mushrooms,  wiped clean, stems trimmed, and sliced into 1/2-inch thick pieces
  • .88 oz mixed dried wild mushrooms (including porcini, shiitake, black, & oyster mushrooms)
  • 6 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 T dry sherry, divided
  • 8 cups stock (I used 4 cups homemade Turkey Stock, and 4 cups boxed chicken stock)
  • 4 large carrots, trimmed, peeled, and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups pearl barley (I used par-cooked barley from Trader Joe’s)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tsp fresh thyme leaves, or 2 tsp dried thyme leaves
  • 6 oz baby spinach

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  1. Cook the bacon in a soup pot or large saucepan over medium heat until browned but not too crisp and most of the fat is rendered, 5 to 7 minutes, stirring often and adjusting the heat as necessary.
  2. Add the onions and cook over medium-high heat until it begins to soften, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Stir in the fresh and dried mushrooms and the garlic and cook until the mushrooms release their liquid, 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. IMG_7324
  4. Add 6 T of the sherry and let boil for about 1 minute to reduce the liquid slightly.
  5. Stir in the stock, carrots, barley, bay leaf, and 3 cups water. Cover the pot and let the soup come to a boil. Then, reduce the heat as necessary and let the soup simmer, partially covered, stirring occasionally, until the barley is barely tender, 35 to 40 minutes for standard barley, 15-20 minutes for par-cooked barley. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Add the thyme and the remaining 6 T sherry and let simmer until the flavors blend, about 3 minutes.
  7. Add the spinach, increase the heat to high, cover the pot, and cook the spinach until just wilted, about 1 minute. Remove and discard the bay leaf before serving the soup.

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One Year Ago:

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About Josette@thebrookcook

I live in Stony Brook, New York on Long Island. I love garlic and baking. My hobby (and love) is to try new recipes. My favorite recipe resources include The New York Times, Food and Wine, Bon Appetit, and Martha Stewart Living. Enjoy!

6 responses to “Mushroom, Spinach, Barley, & Bacon Soup

  1. Where can I become a citizen of the Bacon Nation? !? 😀

  2. I can see why you tried this first!

  3. sarithakumbakkara

    Awesome! Will try this recipe for sure!

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