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Mushroom-and-Kale Barley Soup

Mushroom-and-Kale Barley Soup


  • 1 cup pearl barley

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)

  • 1 pound crimini or mixed mushrooms, sliced

  • 1 onion, chopped

  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped

  • 1 bunch cavolo nero (also called black, Tuscan, dinosaur or lacinato kale), stemmed and shredded

  • Salt and pepper

  • A few grates of nutmeg

  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock (32 ounces)

  • A handful of dried porcini or mixed wild mushrooms

  • Shaved Pecorino Romano cheese, for serving


Divide and conquer: Boil the barley separately while you move forward with the soup to get it all done in just under 30 minutes. Bring a medium size saucepan of water to a boil; add the barley and boil until just tender, 20-22 minutes. Drain and reserve.

Meanwhile, in a soup pot, heat the EVOO, four turns of the pan, over medium-high heat. Add the fresh mushrooms and cook until browned, then add the onion and garlic and cook until soft, 12-15 minutes total. Add the kale and cook to wilt; season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Stir in the stock, a couple of cups water and the dried mushrooms; bring to a boil. Lower the heat to simmer and cook until the dried mushrooms are tender, 7-8 minutes. Stir in the reserved barley. Serve the soup in shallow bowls and top with the Pecorino Romano cheese.