Chicken Barley Mushroom Soup – A Fall Favorite (in our house)

20160925_122659I do not know the origins of this recipe, but it was one my father made on a regular basis. He made soups almost daily after he was permanently disabled from a heart attack and was home all day. I loved coming home after school to the scents of hot soup permeating the house.

This is one of my favorites he made.

I will post my father’s version first.

The second is of my version. I like it nice and thick, almost stew-like, and I use yam puree to thicken the soup. To me, the secret is not only the dill, but also the massive amounts of mushrooms. I love mushrooms! So the more the better. I always use fresh, though I’m sure canned would work fine, too.

This is easy, maybe not real quick, but tastes sooooo good on a cold fall/winter day. And it’s pretty healthy, too, with nothing “bad” in it. I keep it light on the barley unless I’m making it for a trip out on the fishing boat, where more hearty the better.

Original recipe as made by Andy Karella:

  • Boil 1 whole chicken, covered with water, seasoned with season salt and pepper and 3 chopped onions until it falls off the bone.
  • Remove chicken, de-bone, return to broth.
  • Refrigerate overnight, skim off fat.

Add to the stock in crockpot:

  • 1-3 cups pearl barley (depending on how much you like barley)
  • 6 cups fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cups diced celery
  • 1 cup fresh parsley or 1/3 cup dried parsley
  • 1 cup fresh dill or 1/3 cup dried dill
  • 3 large cans tomatoes
  • 2 Tblsp minced garlic
  • salt/pepper to taste

Cook over low heat until all veggies are soft and barely are well cooked.

Serve with dollop of sour cream in each bowl.


My version of the recipe: This makes a huge 8-10 quart stockpot of very meaty stew. Take it down to 1 chicken for a smaller (still makes a good 6 quarts) pot.

Take skin off 2 chickens, portion them to fit in pot. Cover with low sodium chicken broth (about 2 quarts). I only use pepper for seasoning, and do not use season salt.

If you remove the skin, you don’t have to wait overnight to finish cooking. There is more flavor if you leave the skin on, but I hate waiting. This is why I use chicken broth instead of water to boil. I save the skins to make more chicken broth at a later date. They freeze well in an air-tight Ziploc bag.

In the pot with the chicken, add two peeled and quartered medium-sized yams.(2 lbs aprox)

When the chicken is done cooking, and yams are very soft, remove everything from the broth. And then add:

  • 1-3 cups pearl barley (depending on how much you like barley)
  • 6 cups fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cups diced celery
  • 1 cup fresh parsley or 1/3 cup dried parsley
  • 1 cup fresh dill or 1/4 to 1/3 cup dried dill (I only use 1/4, and it’s still very dilly)

Cook the rest of the ingredients in broth. (I used 2 cans pureed tomatoes, 1 can diced 28oz – with the juice) This last time I used 1 can tomato puree and about 1 lb fresh diced tomatoes – because I had some going too soft to put on salad. Any version of tomatoes and tomato sauce/puree will work.

While veggies and barley are cooking, de-bone the chicken. Do not add yet.

Puree the yam with a little of the broth.

Once veggies and barley are cooked, add the chicken meat, yam and 2 Tblsp minced garlic.

Bring back to a boil, serve piping hot with a dollop of sour cream (optional).



One thought on “Chicken Barley Mushroom Soup – A Fall Favorite (in our house)

  1. I love that you’ve posted your father’s recipe and your recipe side by side. Everyone who cooks a recipe adds their own preferences into it which to me is the magic of cooking.

    This post would make a great addition to Our Growing Edge, a monthly blog link up just for new food adventures. It’s a fun way to share your new food experiences with other foodies. This month’s theme is FAMILY RECIPES which includes any recipe or food experience enjoyed by your family.

    More info including how to submit your link here:

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