A number of years ago my mother-in-law Ginny, who is a wonderful cook, gave me a copy of a soup recipe clipped from the St. Paul Pioneer Press. The name of the soup was missing from the clipping, and on it, Ginny had written “Mushroom Soup.” With her recommendation, I knew it would be good.
A simple soup with uncomplicated ingredients, it surprises you with nuanced flavors and way above run-of-the-mill deliciousness. Each time I’m a bit taken aback by such great results from something this quick and easy—a perfect example of a dish that is so much more than the sum of its parts!
As we’ve been teased with a tinge of fall weather, I decided it was time to share a good soup recipe. After a quick google search for the actual name and origin, I found it was featured in the Pioneer Press in 2011 and is called Hungarian Mushroom Barley Soup. Apparently there was a popular downtown Minneapolis skyway restaurant back in the day called Café Metro and this came from their cookbook. With the large amount of paprika, no wonder it’s got Hungarian in the name!
The only tweaks I made to this super healthy soup were to decrease the broth from 10 to 8 cups, used fresh herbs instead of dried, and included a combination of smoked and regular paprika. With the finishing touches of fresh lemon juice and dill, the depth of flavor will satisfy and I’ll bet it’ll be on your table more than once this soup season. Enjoy!
Hungarian Mushroom Barley Soup
1 medium onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups green pepper, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 3/4 cups carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 tablespoon fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
2 3/4 teaspoons paprika (I used a mixture of smoked and regular)
4 cups mushrooms, cleaned and sliced (either cremini or button work well)
1/4 cup tomato paste
8 cups vegetable broth
2/3 cup uncooked barley
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 ½ tablespoons fresh dill or 3/4 teaspoon dried dill
In a large stockpot, sauté the onion in olive oil until soft. Add green pepper, carrots, thyme and paprika. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add mushrooms and tomato paste. Cook for 5 minutes or until mushrooms release their liquid. Add broth. Bring to a boil. Add barley. Reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes or until the barley is tender. Season with the salt and pepper. Stir in lemon juice and dill. Ladle into soup bowls. Makes about 10 servings.