Mushroom-Kale-Barley Soup

During September, fresh tomatoes and eggplants occupied my attention so I completely missed National Mushroom month. In fact, I made this soup in July when organic mushrooms were on sale at a local supermarket. But soup and summer usually don't go together (unless we're talking gazpacho or chilled cucumber) so I saved the recipe and post for cooler days.

Now, neither I nor this humble soup can compete with the Mushroom Masters but I offer it to you today as a simple, nourishing, warming, everyday meal.

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 Mushroom-Kale-Barley Soup

Adapted from The Clueless Vegetarian by Evelyn Raab, page 47. The original recipe does not include kale but I was harvesting the last leaves of the season from the plant on my balcony & thought they'd make a tasty, healthy and green addition to this soup so I tossed them in.

Serves 8 - 10

3 tablespoons (45 mL)  butter or vegetable oil [I used oil]
2 small onions, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, squished
1 pound (3 L) vegetable broth
1 cup (250 mL) barley
[a handful of fresh, tender kale leaves -- I used young 'Lacinato' kale leaves]
1 teaspoon (5 mL) crumbled dried thyme
2 tablespoons (30 mL) chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons (30 mL) chopped fresh dill weed
salt & pepper to taste

In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter [heat the oil] over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots, celery and garlic and cook, stirring for about 10 minutes or until tender. Add the sliced mushrroms and cook for another 5 to 8 minutes until the mushrooms have let out their juices, and the liquid is beginning to evaporate.

Now add the vegetable broth, barley and thyme, and bring to a boil. Cover the pot with a lid, lower the heat to a simmer, and let the soup cook, stirring occasionally for 1 1/2 hours.  If it is becoming too thick, add more water. Add the chopped parsley and dill [and kale, if desired], simmer for another 15 minutes, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

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In my information foraging, I discovered a new book, nutrition facts, research &  growing guides on mushrooms:

An interview with Greg Marley, author of Chanterelle Dreams and Amanita Nightmares: The Love, Lore, and Mystique of Mushrooms

Nutrition facts

Mushrooms & Vitamin D

[Note: The Office of Dietary Supplements (OHS) cites research that shows "mushrooms provide vitamin D2 (erogocalciferol) in variable amounts. Mushrooms with enhanced levels of vitamin D2 from being exposed to ultraviolet light under controlled conditions are also available." I believe this is the study the OHS is referring to: Vitamin D2 Enrichment In Fresh Mushrooms Using Pulsed UV Light (PDF).]

How to grow edible mushrooms by Carolyn Herriot (renowned British Columbia gardener & author)

Growing mushrooms (from Channel 4 Food | Jamie Oliver)