Wild Mushroom Bean and Barley Soup

This Wild Mushroom Bean and Barley Soup features several types of ‘shrooms and the magical orca bean!  It’s perfect for chilly Autumn days!

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Bob’s Red Mill.  The opinions and recipe are all my own.

This Wild Mushroom Bean and Barley Soup features several types of 'shrooms and the magical orca bean! It's perfect for chilly Fall and Winter days!I’ve always wanted to see a whale.  Not like the kind that you might see in a Disney movie.  A real whale.  I find it fascinating that one of the largest mammals in the world feeds on one of the smallest.  And get ready for this…whales eat up to 5,000 pounds of plankton and other small fish a day.  5,000 pounds!  So when I found out that you can go whale watching off the coast of Massachusetts, I was all in.

A couple of weeks ago, my wife and I piled in the car with one of our friends and headed out to Gloucester, Mass. for a quick weekend trip.  The afternoon boat trip was postponed until Sunday due to rough seas, but that’s ok…we just checked out the area instead.  Sadly, Sunday’s trip did not produce any whale sightings, but we still had an awesome time out on the water.  And we’re planning on heading back in the Spring to see if we can spot some whales.

This Wild Mushroom Bean and Barley Soup features several types of 'shrooms and the magical orca bean! It's perfect for chilly Fall and Winter days!So what in the world do our whale watching adventures have to do with this Wild Mushroom Bean and Barley Soup?  Orcas are a type of whale, and I used Orca beans in this soup.  (I admit it’s a weak connection, but it did let me tell you about our whale watching adventures!)  But back to the Orca beans.  Have you guys seen these magical beans?  Ok, maybe they aren’t magic…but they’re definitely crazy cool!  Orca beans are a little smaller than pinto beans, and they hold their shape well when cooked.  That means they’re great in soups!

This Wild Mushroom Bean and Barley Soup features several types of 'shrooms and the magical orca bean! It's perfect for chilly Fall and Winter days!Wild Mushroom Bean and Barley Soup

I must admit that I’m pretty excited that Fall is here.  That means comfy sweatshirts and curling up on the couch watching movies.  That means reading books by the fire.  But, most importantly, that means delicious soups!  We love making big batches of soup around the Spiced house.  Back when we were both in grad school, we’d just pick up cans of soup from the store for weekday lunches.  But then we realized that homemade soups really aren’t that hard to make at all.  And they’re way tastier!  So now we make up a big batch of soup on the weekend, and then we have easy (and healthy) lunches ready to go for the week.  Tasty and easy…that’s how I roll.

This Wild Mushroom Bean and Barley Soup features several types of 'shrooms and the magical orca bean! It's perfect for chilly Fall and Winter days!Before we get to the recipe, can we talk for a quick moment about mushrooms?  For me, mushrooms were always a means to an end.  They provided special abilities. They turned regular Mario into Super Mario.  But actual mushrooms?  Eh.  They’re just one of those foods that I’ve had the hardest time appreciating.  It’s not the flavor.  (I discovered truffle oil a few years back, and I love it!)  It’s the texture.  But I was determined to like mushrooms.  I kept giving trying them and trying them…and now I can honestly say that I enjoy mushrooms.

This Wild Mushroom Bean and Barley Soup features several types of 'shrooms and the magical orca bean! It's perfect for chilly Fall and Winter days!I’m still a little skeptical about a big pile of sauteed ‘shrooms on my plate, but I love them in soups.  So when I saw the Orca beans from Bob’s Red Mill, I knew I wanted to make a mushroom soup.  And I didn’t skimp on the mushrooms, either…I think there are 3-4 different varieties in this soup.  Oh, and I threw in some dried porcini mushrooms for an added boost of flavor, too.

This Wild Mushroom Bean and Barley Soup features several types of 'shrooms and the magical orca bean! It's perfect for chilly Fall and Winter days!So here’s to comfy sweaters, early season fires and many bowls of this delicious Wild Mushroom Bean and Barley Soup!  For more delicious recipes, check out the Bob’s Red Mill website.  I’ve found a bunch of really great recipes on there…now I just need to find time to make all of them!

Did you make this Wild Mushroom Bean and Barley Soup at home?  Leave a comment, or snap a photo and tag me on Instagram (@Spicedblog).  I’d love to see your version!

This Wild Mushroom Bean and Barley Soup features several types of 'shrooms and the magical orca bean! It's perfect for chilly Fall and Winter days!

Wild Mushroom Bean and Barley Soup

This Wild Mushroom Bean and Barley Soup features several types of 'shrooms and the magical orca bean! It's perfect for chilly Fall and Winter days!
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 275kcal

Ingredients

  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large white onion diced
  • 3 stalks celery thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 3-4 cups ~1 pound shiitake mushrooms, coarsely chopped
  • 3-4 cups ~1 pound oyster mushrooms, coarsely chopped
  • 6 cups ~2 pounds button mushrooms, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup dry sherry
  • ¼ cup dried porcini mushrooms
  • 4 quarts low-sodium vegetable stock
  • 2 cups fresh spinach chopped
  • 1 cup orca beans
  • 1 cup dry barley
  • fresh parsley to garnish

Instructions

  • Clean the fresh mushrooms by lightly brushing off any dirt. Peel off any tough outer skins of the mushroom caps and discard. (Tip: Mushrooms absorb water quickly. If you rinse them heavily when cleaning, they can absorb too much water and dilute the flavor of the soup.)
  • Using a Dutch oven or large stock pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, garlic and mushrooms. Cover pot and cook over medium-low heat for 6-7 minutes, or until onions have softened slightly. (Note: Don't be alarmed by the volume of mushrooms. They will cook down quite a bit very quickly!)
  • Add sherry and cook over medium heat (uncovered) for 15 minutes, or until mushrooms are soft.
  • Place the dried porcini mushrooms in a food processor or mini-chopper. Pulse until finely ground.
  • Add dried mushrooms, vegetable stock, spinach and orca beans. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes.
  • Add the barley and simmer for another 30 minutes.
  • Garnish with fresh chopped parsley before serving.

Notes

Feel free to substitute other varieties of mushrooms based on what is available.
I recommend using sherry from a wine store rather than the sherry that is sold in grocery stores. It's not much more expensive, and it makes a huge difference in flavor!

This Wild Mushroom Bean and Barley Soup features several types of 'shrooms and the magical orca bean! It's perfect for chilly Fall and Winter days!

Looking for more tasty soup recipes?  Check out these other favorites, too:

Loaded baked potato meets comforting creamy soup.  This Loaded Baked Potato Soup is a bowl of pure comfort food, and it's sure to keep you warm on cold winter nights!Loaded Baked Potato Soup

This Creamy Tomato Orzo Soup is easy to make and loaded with flavor.  It's the perfect meal on a cold winter day!Creamy Tomato Orzo Soup

This Tomato Florentine Soup is packed with tons of flavor...and it's ready in less than 30 minutes!  It's a great way to warm up on a cold day!Tomato Florentine Soup

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45 Comments

  1. Beans and ‘shrooms and celery – yes – finally we are speaking the same language! 🙂
    LOVE this soup and LOVE comfy sweaters with extra long arms that act as protestants from extra hot bowls of soup! Soup is the only reason I don’t hibernate all winter!
    I had never heard of orca beans before -I am fascinated – they are so adorable! Are they similar in taste to navy beans or black beans? I

    1. Wait, we aren’t speaking the same language with the dessert posts, Shashi?? And all this time, I thought we were friends. Haha! Soups are pretty much our favorite thing ever in the winter. We make huge batches and then freeze them in big tupperware containers. I think we have two different soups in our freezer right now…and it’s only October! I’d put orca beans in a similar category as black beans. They’re crazy awesome for winter soups because they hold their shape once cooked. 🙂

      1. Oh snap – I forgot your legendary-mail-man-enticing desserts! Dang how could I?!?! Wait – it’s cos you won’t share! GAH! 🙂
        Y’all freeze soups? No mater how large a batch I make, it never lasts long enough to justify any being frozen…guess I need to find me a gynormous cauldron or something!

        1. Well, we do make HUGE batches of soup. I don’t think I have any recipes that don’t feed a small army…haha! That’s where the freezing comes in. Plus, it’s nice to mix it up a bit and bring a soup back out 2-3 weeks later.

  2. For the longest time I couldn’t stand mushrooms. The texture and slicing them made me cringe. Happily, I am over that and now love them. I’m am also happy for Fall and soup season. This soup looks delicious. I haven’t seen orca beans before and can’t wait to try them.

    1. Haha…sounds exactly like my story, Cindy! It took me so long to get behind mushrooms, but now they are a staple around here. Thanks! 🙂

    1. I couldn’t agree more about homemade broth, Laurie. I don’t make it as much as I should…but now you’ve inspired me. I’ll start hanging on to all my leftover veggie clippings. 🙂

  3. I have never heard of orca beans — so pretty! In fact, I want to make some kind of third-grade-style dried bean art project from them. Maybe a wreath. I’ll keep you posted. Meanwhile, don’t hate me but when I went whale watching off the Cape, we not only sighted some humpbacks, we got to PET THEM, they were that close. OK, you can hate me — it was really awesome.

    1. Ok, I do officially hate you for that, Ninj! PET? Seriously?? What an awesome experience! Keep me updated on the 3rd grade orca bean wreath, though. (For some reason, I never pictured you as a kid’s crafts kinda gal…guess I was wrong!)

    1. Oh, lentil soup is a good one, Karen! It’s getting chilly here in upstate NY, and I could go for a hot bowl of lentil soup right now! Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

    1. I was just roasting some squash the other day, Rachael. I should have bought some extra for squash soup…that sounds delicious along with a yummy grilled cheese sandwich! Thanks for commenting!! 🙂

  4. My favorite fall soup is probably a tie between split pea and butternut squash, but this recipe looks delicious! Can’t wait to try it.

  5. I’m so glad I found this recipe! We just placed an order for some shiitake mushrooms that will be perfect in this. The site I ordered from is called http://wholeearthharvest.com/. Now I just need UPS to hurry up so I can start cooking! 🙂 Keep up the good work David. Thank you!

    1. Awesome! Thanks for sharing that site, Sarah…I’ll have to check it out. I was lucky enough to find some shiitakes locally…but it did take a couple of stops. I hope you enjoy this soup as much as we did! Hmmm…now that it is bitterly cold outside, I’m pretty sure another batch of this needs to show up in my kitchen soon. Thanks for being a fan…and happy 2015!

  6. This is one of the BEST recipes I’ve found yet! I made a big pot of it for a potluck and everyone enjoyed it. I can hardly wait to make it again. It was the first time I’d ever tasted Orca beans or barley. Both are now new additions to our yummy list!

    THANK YOU. THANK YOU. THANK YOU!

    1. Wow…thank you so much, Marcia! Your comment totally made my evening last night when I read it! 🙂 Orca beans sure are a fun one…in fact, I should use those more often in other soups. Happy soup-season, and thank you so much for coming back and commenting! That really means a lot to me!

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