This soup was inspired by some grilled marinated Portobello mushrooms I had leftover from dinner the night before. I had been making another mushroom barley soup recipe for years, but was always left a little bored by it. Basically, I wanted something meatier, and the grilled portabellas did the trick. If you happen to have some leftover roast, brisket or steak, you could use that in here and skip the first step of making the grilled mushrooms. Or add it all in together. It would bump up the calories a bit, but would sure be tasty.
For the marinated grilled portabellas
2 Portobello Mushroom Caps
½ tsp Herbs de Provence (or ¼ tsp dried thyme, ¼ tsp dried rosemary)
¼ cup soy sauce
2 TBSP balsamic vinegar
1 tsp balsamic crème (if you have), or 1 tsp honey
1 tsp garlic oil (or 1 tsp olive oil and 1 tsp minced garlic)
A few grinds of black pepper
For the soup
2 TBSP olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 ¼ cups)
2 medium celery ribs, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 10 oz. package sliced cremini mushrooms
3 cloves garlic, chopped fine
¼ cup medium-dry Sherry
½ cup barley
4 cups beef broth
1 1/2 cups water
3 carrots, sliced
¼ tsp dried thyme
¼ tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp dried parsley (or ¼ cup chopped fresh)
2 tsp tomato paste
Salt and pepper to taste
Step 1 – The Portobellos:
Scrape the gills out of the portobello caps (a spoon works nicely here.) Place the caps in a dish deep enough to hold them and the marinade. Wisk together the next 6 ingredients, pour over the mushrooms, and flip the mushrooms over so they coated on both sides. Let sit for 30 minutes to an hour.
Spray a grill pan with cooking spray (or fry pan or griddle if you don’t have a grill pan) and heat over medium-high. Remove the mushrooms from the marinade (save the marinade, you’ll need it again) and lay the mushrooms cap side up on the grill pan. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and a grind of pepper, and grill for 3-4 minutes. Turn and grill for another 2-3 minutes until just tender. Remove to a board, slice the mushrooms in half, and then each half into slices. Add sliced mushrooms back into the marinade and let sit.
Step 2 – The Soup:
Heat 2 TBSP olive oil in a medium sized stockpot and sauté the onions and celery with a pinch of salt until soft and just starting to brown. Add garlic and cook 1-2 minutes. Add sliced cremini mushrooms, a small pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper and sauté until most of the moisture from the mushrooms has evaporated. Off heat, add the Sherry, then return to heat, add in the marinade from the mushrooms and bring to a boil, cooking until the liquid is reduced by about one-third. Add in the beef broth, water, tomato paste, carrots, barley, dried thyme, rosemary and parsley and sliced grilled mushrooms. Return to a boil, then cover and simmer on low for 1 hour. Taste for seasonings and add more salt and pepper if needed. Calories: about 85 calories per cup.