Slow cooked chicken soup combines with hearty mushroom barley to make this instant favorite: Mushroom Barley Chicken Soup!
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Let’s talk about comfort food, shall we?
But first, let me tell you guys a little story about how I couldn’t make up my mind, and that led me to create one of my new favorite soups, ever.
In general, I hate making decisions. Ask me where I want to go for dinner, and the answer will always be “I don’t care as long as I don’t have to choose.” No jokes. I’m indecisive and it’s not usually a good thing. But recently, it came in pretty handy. I was standing in the grocery store produce aisle, planning my menu. (On a side note, do you guys do that too? I always see what veggies look good and then plan around it.) Usually, during the winter, I make a pot of soup every week, and it feeds me for a few days, with any leftovers heading straight into the freezer for an “off” day.
So there I was. Standing in the grocery store, pondering the produce, debating between making a pot of mushroom barley soup or a pot of chicken soup. The mushrooms looked great, but I kinda couldn’t stop thinking about a slow cooked chicken soup warming my very bones. And then this little voice in my brain was all “hey wait a minute. Do I even have to choose?” And that’s how this recipe was born. I bought the mushrooms. I bought the chicken stuff. I bought it all.
My idea was that if I would simmer the mushroom barley soup for many, many hours with a ton of chicken bones, it would deepen in flavor and be the best of both worlds. And my idea worked out as least as well as I hoped. Maybe better. I added some dark chicken cutlets too (because I love the idea of having chicken pieces in with the mushrooms. And I added the barley pretty close to the end, because nothing takes over a pot of soup quite like barley cooking in it for a bazillion hours. The results are simply perfect. A true meal in one bowl – chicken, mushrooms, barley – it’s nourishing and hearty and simply so perfectly delicious!
I hope you try it. I know you’ll love it too!
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- 2 Tablespoons oil
- 1 large spanish onion, diced
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
- 2 boxes (about 10 ounces each) cremini or baby bella mushrooms, chopped
- 2 boxes (about 10 ounces each) white mushrooms, chopped
- 1 box (about 4 ounces) shiitake mushrooms, diced, chopped, optional
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 Tablespoon dried parsley
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 4-6 cups water
- 2-3 lb chicken bones
- 4 dark (skinless and boneless) chicken cutlets (baby chicken)
- ½ cup barley
- Heat oil over medium heat in a large soup pot. Add onion and half of the salt. Saute for about 5 minutes, until softened. Add the mushrooms and saute for an additional 10-20 minutes, longer if time allows. The longer the mushrooms cook, the better the flavor will be.
- Add remaining salt, pepper, parsley, broth and water.
- Place bones in a net bag; add to pot of soup. Place chicken cutlets in an additional net bag and add to soup pot.
- Cover pot and bring to a boil. Uncover, reduce heat, and simmer for about 1 hour. Remove chicken cutlets (leave the bones in) and set aside. Continue to cook soup for about 2 hours (longer is great too!).
- Meanwhile, shred chicken cutlets into small pieces. Set aside.
- After simmering for an additional 2 hours, add barley to soup. Continue to cook for about an hour, until the barley is cooked through. You may need to add some extra water during this time, so check on it occasionally. Remove chicken bones from the soup. Add shredded chicken back into the pot.
- Soup can be frozen in an airtight container until ready to use.
Q: Can I skip the broth in this recipe?
Yes, you can. You may need to add additional seasoning, and for best results, simmer the soup for longer, to make up for the difference. In short, the broth is a shortcut here.
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Thanks for stopping by! I know you’ll love this recipe! It’s the stuff comfort food dreams are made of! Tried it? Comment below and let me know! – Miriam
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