This seasonal mushroom and barley soup is flavoured with a splash of port for extra depth of flavour.
The health benefits of mushrooms have received much publicity in recent years, but attention has been largely stolen by exotic varieties such as shitaki. Yet the humble Agaricus bisporus, the world’s most commonly eaten mushroom and the one that you will see the most often in shops, has been found to possess immune system boosting powers that equal, if not surpass, their fashionable counterparts. One cup of common white mushrooms provides a good, very good, or excellent source of 15 different vitamins, minerals, and antioxidant phytonutrients. It is these phytonutrients which provide the most exciting and researched benefits, with many found to support to our immune system and help prevent unwanted inflammation.
Mushrooms are also a very good source of the antioxidant mineral selenium. This mineral has an particularly important role in skin health. Studies suggest that a selenium-rich diet can help to protect against skin cancer, sun damage and age spots.
|Prep and Cook Time: Prep time: 20 min; Cook time: 55 min|
- 1/2 cup pearl barley
- 1 medium onion, chopped fine
- 3 medium cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 medium carrot, peeled and diced in 1/4-inch cubes
- 1 stick celery finely diced
- 2 1/2 cups mushrooms, cut in half and sliced
- 1 TBS olive oil
- 1/2 cup Tawny port
- 6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 TBS chopped fresh parsley
- 1 TBS chopped fresh thyme (or 1 tsp dried thyme)
- 1/2 TBS chopped fresh sage (or 1/2 tsp dried sage)
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- Rinse and soak barley in 1 cup of warm water while preparing rest of ingredients.
- Heat 1 tbs olive oil in a medium soup pot. Sauté onion for 5 minutes over medium heat, stirring frequently. Add garlic, carrots and celery to the pan and cook for a further 5 minutes with the lid on the pan to retain steam.
- Remove lid and add mushrooms and continue to sauté for another 3 minutes. Add drained barley and Tawny Port and cook for about 2 minutes.
- Add rest of broth and bring soup to a boil on high heat. Once it comes to a boil, reduce heat to medium and simmer for about 40 minutes, or until barley and carrots are tender.
- Add herbs, salt, and pepper at the end of cooking and serve.
- Chen S, Oh SR, Phung S et al. Anti-Aromatase Activity of Phytochemicals in White Button Mushrooms (Agaricus bisporus). Cancer Res., Dec 2006; 66: 12026 – 12034. 2006.
- Falandysz J. Selenium in edible mushrooms. J Environ Sci Health C Environ Carcinog Ecotoxicol Rev. 2008 Jul-Sep;26(3):256-99. 2008.