Mushroom Barley Soup with Mini Meatballs

I’m in the middle of a cupcake baking frenzy for my daughter’s birthday party on Saturday. It always makes me nervous to not have a definite guest count, but I decided I would rather be short on pizza than cupcakes. So I’m making extras. 🙂  I had a pretty eventful weekend picking strawberries, making jam, and canning it. It is always wonderful to walk around the farm that provides us with our CSA box of deliciousness. We didn’t get to pick as many strawberries as we wanted, but I managed to pick enough for 6 jars of jam which I’ll be hoarding unless I can get another bountiful supply of strawberries before the season is over.

Here’s a pretty little ladybug we encountered while picking strawberries at our CSA farm.

I did manage, between party planning and jam-making, to whip up a tasty soup with my CSA veggies. I know, it’s getting rather warm in pretty much all parts of the country, but I’m always a sucker for a good soup. This is one. Soup is also a good way to use a lot of veggies at one time. In my efforts to consume more whole grains and legumes, I have been making a batch of either beans, or grains on Sundays to incorporate into our weekday meals. This week I cooked barley. I made a homemade vegetable broth to use as the soup base. I incorporated the water from reconstituted dried mushrooms. You can use fresh, but I did feel that the dried mushrooms and their broth gave the soup a nice richness and color. The soup was even better the next day as is usual with most soups. I highly recommend you eat it with a squirt of Sriracha.

I have to apologize for the soup pic. When I started making the soup I was just going through my routine and didn’t even think about photgraphing it until I was happily half way through my bowl. If you’re like me and love soup no matter the weather, give this a try!

If you would like to use uncooked barley, add them before you add the broth and simmer until the barley is just about cooked through before you add the meatballs.

My half eaten bowl of soup

Mushroom Barley Soup with Mini Meatballs

For the soup I used:
1 cup of reconstituted dried mixed mushrooms,chopped small
Half an onion, chopped
1 fennel bulb, chopped
2 celery stalks, plus leaves, chopped
3 small carrots, chopped
1-1/2 cups cooked barley
3 cloves garlic, minced fine
About 8-10 cups of vegetable broth, depending on if you want it stew-like, or brothy
3 T Worcestershire
3 T liquid aminos or soy sauce(I used aminos)
2 bay leaves
Salt and pepper to taste

For the meatballs:
1-1/3 lbs organic ground beef
1 egg
1tsp dry parsley
1tsp pepper
1 tsp garlic Mrs. Dash
1tsp kosher salt
1 T grated onion
1 T Worcestershire sauce

Sauté veggies, except mushrooms, in 1T coconut oil or olive oil until soft, about 5-7 minutes. Add bay leaves and mushrooms. Add broth, and liquid seasonings, bring to a boil, cover and allow to simmer for about 10 min.

Meanwhile make meatballs. Mix ground beef with seasonings and egg. Shape into marble sized balls and drop carefully into simmering soup. Skim any foam that rises to the surface. Simmer 10 more min, then add cooked barley. Simmer until heated through. Taste check for salt and pepper.

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