Mushroom Barley Soup

The Backstory: My mom made this soup often as it is a traditional Jewish soup that is often found on deli menus and is something that her generation grew up with.  Most of the time she made it with beef flanken. When mom used mushrooms in this soup, they were the kind that came from a can.  She never tried fresh or different types of mushrooms. I am confident that if she were making this this soup now, she would have embraced more of the fresh ingredients we use today. Feel free to experiment with this recipe. More of the Backstory after the recipe

Mushroom Barley Soup

Colorful to look at, this soup is rich and very tasty. All the veggies give it a hearty, filling appeal So dig in and enjoy it as much as we did.
Course Soup
Cuisine Jewish
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 6 people


  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 2 lbs. button mushrooms cleaned, cut in 1/2
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter or oil, pareve margarine
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 stalks of celery, diced
  • 2 carotts, diced
  • 8 cups beef broth vegetarian or chicken stock can be substitued
  • 1 bay leaf optional
  • 1 sprig of thyme, remove leaves
  • 3-4 tbsp. canola or vegetable oil
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 chopped garlic cloves


  1. Cook barley in water according to package directions. Add a little salt ( approximately 1/4 tsp.). When soft and water is mostly evaporated, the barley is done. Cover pot and turn off heat. Leave on stove another 5-8 minutes. Check that it does not stick to the pot, then set aside.
  2. In a medium skillet, heat butter and saute onions carrots, celery, bay leaf and thyme. Add garlic and mushrooms. Cook uncovered. When mushrooms are soft remove from heat. Set aside.
  3. In a large stock pot add 8 cups of broth and bring to a boil. Lower heat. Add the veggies and the cooked barley. Cook 30 minutes more. Check seasoning and add the salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Remove bay leaf before serving.

…The Backstory continues: I remember so many wonderful meals and holidays at my parents home.  We were (and still are) a noisy bunch of people.  With 8 grandchildren running around, and  4 sets of parents plus the quiet ones, the grandparents could not get a word in edgewise.  Mom was usually in the kitchen trying to get everything she made on the table at the same time.  Meanwhile my father observed everything that was going on around him, but hardly ever spoke.  He did smile a lot. Those were fantastic years. The memories linger on as well as the wonderful foods my mom cooked. Thanks, mom.

Note: for vegetarians, this soup can also be made with water instead of using chicken or beef broth.

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Myrna Turek

Myrna Turek

I'm a domestic goddess who got my 'PhD' in Home Ec in the early 1960s. I was married for 52 years and have six grandchildren. If it were up to me, everything would be fried. Including chocolate.
Myrna Turek

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