I made mushroom soup for Paula and I last night. We enjoyed the soup with some delicious red wine and a simple spinach salad.

In order to make the soup, I heated a large saucepan. Then I cooked 2 slices of pancetta that I had finely chopped. (Note: If you don’t have pancetta, you can use bacon.) After the pancetta had cooked for about 5-6 minutes, I added 1/2 of a finely chopped medium onion. I cooked the onion for about 4-5 minutes. Then I added 1 finely chopped celery rib, 8 ounces of thinly sliced white mushrooms, 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh parsley and 2 cloves of finely chopped garlic. I cooked all of this for another 8 minutes of so – until most of the moisture had been cooked out of the mushrooms.

After these ingredients were cooked down, I added 2 diced medium potatoes and 3 cups of beef broth. Once the broth / soup reached a boil, I added 1/2 cup of pearled barley. Then I turned down the heat to simmer and let the soup cook partially covered for about 30 minutes. It took about that long for the potatoes and barley to become tender. By the time that the barley had become tender, most of the broth had been absorbed. The soup was nice and thick.

Paula and I enjoyed this robust soup. It was the perfect meal for a cold fall evening. The mushroom flavors were really enhanced by the beef broth. The potatoes and barley made the soup quite hearty and filling. It took a little bit of time but it was worth it.