Grace Parisi has always been a fan of mushroom barley soup with beef that has been simmered until succulent. For a clever shortcut that still delivers deep flavor, she replaces the beef with meatballs made from a quick mix of sirloin, egg, bread crumbs and cheese.
More Fast Soups
4 cups beef stock or low-sodium broth
1 cup water
1/2 cup pearled barley
1 large thyme sprig
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound mixed wild and cultivated mushrooms, stemmed and thinly sliced (or
3/4-pound presliced mushrooms)
1 large shallot, finely chopped
1/2 pound ground sirloin
1 large egg
2 tablespoons dry bread crumbs
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
Sour cream, for serving (optional)
How to Make It
In a large saucepan, combine the stock, water, barley and thyme. Season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat until the barley is nearly tender, about 18 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil. Add the mushrooms and shallot, season with salt and pepper and cook over high heat until tender and browned, about 8 minutes.
In a medium bowl, combine the sirloin, egg, bread crumbs, cheese, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Knead the mixture until blended, then roll it into sixteen 1-inch balls.
Add the meatballs and mushrooms to the soup and simmer over moderate heat until the meatballs are cooked through and the barley is tender, about 8 minutes. Discard the thyme. Stir the parsley into the soup and serve in bowls with sour cream.
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