This is one of the best soups I've ever made and it is even worthy of company. So simple, yet rich in deep, mushroomy flavor. The inspiration was zaar #26877, a delicious Mushroom Rice Casserole. I found I couldn't stop eating the liquid before putting the casserole into the oven and that gave me the idea that the base would make a delicious soup. And it does!
Use PLENTY of fresh mushrooms. I buy them when they are marked 1/2 price at the grocery, as this is a good way to use your 'shrooms that are starting to get dark. It is the soy sauce that transforms the broth from ho-hum to YUM. I try to use low sodium or home-made no sodium chicken broth so that I can use the soy for the sodium. There is no sense of "asian" in this soup at all. ( I would not make this without the soy. ) Just a little bit adds the depth of flavor and even color that transforms the soup.
1. If you want to make it into "cream of" just add some evaporated milk...delicious.
2. Once I broke up a leftover ground sirloin burger into my soup bowl and nuked it...was that ever good.
3. I did do this recipe with sinewy beef scraps cut from a roast once. I browned the beef in the bottom of the pan, added the butter and onions and continued as written. The beef added great color and flavor. In this case, I threw the beef piece away, because it had too much sinew, but it was a great addition! I ended up using less soy.
4. I have eye-ball made this soup with amounts I had in the fridge/cupboard and it was great. So if you don't have that many mushrooms, make it anyway, just keep tasting it until it tastes good to you!
5. I've made it without food-processing the onions, and that worked just as well.
Lots of flexibility here! Try it, it might be the best barley mushroom soup you've ever had!