Want a warm soup to serve on a cold winter day? This recipe for Bacon Mushroom Soup with Barley & Wild Rice is ready in less than an hour but tastes like you’ve been slow cooking it all day!
Maybe it’s because I’ve got only ONE homesteading skill I’m planning on learning this year, and that’s to grow mushrooms, but I’ve got a new favorite soup this winter. (And I have many favorite soup recipes!)
You’ll never guess what it is.
Wait! How’d you know? Stupid spoiler post titles always giving me up.
Yeah, so you’re right. Bacon Mushroom Soup with Barley. But not just barley because I didn’t feel like stopping there so I threw some wild rice into the mix. And what ended up happening when all the flavors of the meat stock and mushrooms, thyme and bay, onion and garlic… and, of course, BACON! came together is some seriously intense flavor!
Which is good because now that we’ve got a woodlot on the homestead, I’m ready to learn how to grow our own mushrooms. I’m keeping my homestead skill building super easy this year. Maybe for a couple-of-few years while we work on infrastructure, vision, and systems.
Besides building the house slow and steady-like this year, we also are building a cordwood chicken coop complete with a run. (Bye-bye free-ranging hens! I might let them out in the evenings every now and then, but the owl problem here is real and they’re going to have to forage a little harder than finding easy pickings from out of our flock.) We’re also going to be clearing and planting pasture and starting a new garden site because our stockpiled pantry from the failed market garden days is dwindling. (And I’m dying right now for some homegrown greens. I never dreamed my body would scream for kale as much as it is. But the stuff in the store is nee-asty!)
Of course, that is all on top of raising 100 meat chickens, brooding new layers, having 2 calves, and raising 3 pigs. Maybe planting a few trees and shrubs. Thankfully, that stuff is old-hat to us now so those things should run fairly smoothly (Ha!) and the kids are getting old enough where they are really able to help out with the farm chores quite a bit.
But all of it really has me stressing because I don’t want to mess any of it up. Or do it twice. Or kill anything. Actually, these are all normal homesteader worries in any given year, but I’m stressing harder about it this year for some reason. Do I really need to fret about where to plant an apple tree that badly?
But I digress. This is supposed to be about soup. Not stress. And apple trees.
The point is I’m learning to grow mushrooms this year and NEXT winter I’m hoping to serve up a warm bowl of this flavor-punch in the form of Bacon Mushroom Soup.
Bacon Mushroom Soup with Barley and Wild Rice is a quick and easy soup to prepare but it is so full of deliciousness it tastes like you’ve been working on it all day! The grains are cooked in a rich meat stock with the herbs for only half an hour until tender. You can experiment with beef, chicken, or pork stock and find which you like the best. If you twist my arm, I think I would prefer beef stock, but I use whatever is on hand.
The bacon is cooked first, crumbled, and set aside so you can use the bacon grease to cook the mushrooms, onions, and garlic. (This soup might be a great place to use your canned caramelized onions to save even a little more time.) The vegetables (and fungi) are added to the soup pot and sit there for about 15 minutes or so to let the flavors all come together. You can let it sit longer, but at least do it for that long.
Bacon Mushroom Soup with Barley and Wild Rice RecipePrint
- 2 quarts meat stock, beef, pork, or chicken all work well
- 1 quart water
- 1 cup pearled barley
- 1 cup wild rice
- 1 pound bacon
- 1 pound mushrooms
- ½ small onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- sea salt
- cracked black pepper
- Warm the stock and water together in a large saucepan.
- Add the barley, wild rice, bay leaf, and thyme and simmer over low heat, covered, for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile chop the mushrooms, dice the onion, mince the garlic, and cook the bacon. ( I cook mine on a cooling rack over a cookie sheet in the oven at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes so I can work on other things while it’s cooking.)
- Cook the mushrooms and onion in the bacon grease. The mushrooms should still be a little firm and the onions caramelized.
- Add the garlic and cook for another minute or so.
- Add the mushroom, onion, and garlic mix to the soup.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste and continue to cook for another 15 minutes until the grain is tender.
- Discard the bay leave and serve sprinkled with chopped bacon.