Pan-fried Mushrooms and Pearl Barley Soup

This is one of those soups made mostly of ingredients that I needed to use up. I don’t make soups nearly enough during summer months, yet they’re so easy to do. And so replenishing. This Mushrooms and Pearl Barley Soup doesn’t really need a beefed-up stock, yet I wanted to use up some veg in my cupboards as well. A good chicken stock/broth would also be really nice for this. To accompany this I would go for one of my favourite cheeses, double Gloucester with chives and onions served on oat cakes.

Pan-fried Mushrooms and Pearl Barley Soup


  1. 1/2 x large onion, peeled and cut into 3 pieces
  2. 1 x carrot, peeled and chopped into 2 or 3 pieces
  3. 2 x celery stalks, washed and roughly chopped OR
  4. 1 x broccoli stalk, washed, trimmed and cut in half lengthways
  5. 2 x garlic cloves, peeled and kept whole
  6. 1 x dried bay leaf, split
  7. 3 – 4 x small stems fresh thyme
  8. 2 x fresh parsley stalks
  9. 500ml (1.05 pt US Liq) x water
  10. 1 x (organic) vegetable stock cube
  • 80 – 100g (2.82 – 3.52 oz) x pearl barley, rinsed and cooked to the pack’s instructions
  • rapeseed oil
  • up to 400g (14.11 oz) x closed-cup (white) mushrooms, wiped and chopped into quarters
  • 1/4 x scant teaspoon red pepper flakes – optional
  • freshly ground sea salt and black pepper, for serving
  • single/light cream, for serving

Measurements within brackets above are approximate only.


  • Cook the rinsed pearl barley to the pack’s instructions. When cooked set aside.
  • Add all the numbered ingredients to a large saucepan. Put on electric heat No 4 (out of 6) and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 – 30 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before pouring through a metal colander into a suitable bowl, keeping the garlic and bay leaf.
  • Put a heavy-based saucepan or pan/skillet on heat No 3. When mushrooms are prepared pour in a little oil and add the mushrooms. Stir through occasionally. When they start to leach a brown liquid stay with the pan and stir frequently to prevent scorching. Reduce heat if necessary. Continue to cook until nicely golden all over. Remove from heat and add the mushrooms to a suitable bowl and add the cayenne to the saucepan, with a little more oil if necessary. Add the strained stock, garlic (without their shells) and the bay leaf. Stir through to grab any sediment from base of pan. Allow to cool slightly, remove the bay leaf and discard and add the mushrooms. When cool enough to do so pour into a liquidiser/blender. Blitz until smooth.
  • Put back on heat before serving along with the cooked pearl barley.

All photographs within (Todas las fotografías dentro de) Feed the Piglet:
All rights reserved (© Todos los derechos reservados) – Copyright © Johnny H Hepburn


  1. Oh I do love mushroom soup! (Mushroom anything.) I am wondering what I might use in place of the barley, as my body can’t tolerate the gluten, but I think that even without it, it would be very tasty!


    • Without the barley I’d go with my other recipe that includes a hint of nutmeg. It’s even simpler to make than this one. The only thing I can think off is a handful of cooked borlotti/Roman beans that would definitely make this more nutritional. Huh, you’ve got me thinking…


    • It’s superb! Especially during Autumn and Winter. As far as I’m aware it’s typically Italian.
      Oh, you’ll find the other recipe if you scroll to end of page and click on Differing food categories – under soup, off course!


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