Cooking Lesson #389: Instant Pot Ham-Mushroom-Barley Soup (With a Vegan Alternative)
… from the California Kitchen
How you doin’? I love soup! There are no if’s, and’s or but’s. Here’s a winter twofer for you. A soup that can be 100% vegan or a heartier version with ham, pork, beef or chicken. In this recipe I use lightly sautéed white mushrooms and pearl barley. You can use most any variety of mushroom—white, brown or Portabella—it all depends on the final flavor profile that suits your tastes.
Mushroom-Barley Soup may go back hundreds of years to the Middle East. My recipe is a simple and hearty Polish soup made from barley and various root vegetables. It was one of the standards in many homes in Eastern Europe and particularly in Poland. The aroma of a fresh-cooked soup signaled a delicious bowl of a hearty opening for dinner. Mushroom and Barley are the two essential ingredients. I added the meat to make it a complete, easy-to-make meal.
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
3 tablespoons olive oil
12 ounces white mushrooms, rinsed and thick sliced
4 tablespoons red onions, finely chopped
1 cup celery, rinsed and finely diced
1/2 cups carrots, finely sliced
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
32 ounces, chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 cup pearl barley, rinsed and sorted
1 pound dice ham (1/2-inch cubes)
3 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
ChefSecret: You can use cubed pork shoulder instead of ham or make it vegan by using vegetable stock and omitting the meat.
Quip of the Day: “The most difficult part of being vegan is waking up at 5 am to milk the almonds.”
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To you and everyone dear to you, be strong, be positive, stay well, stay safe and be kind. Have a wonderful safe and healthy holiday season. If you have a little extra in your pockets to share with others at this difficult time, please consider donating to Feeding America.
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©Perspectives/The Consulting Group, Inc., 2021
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