My Mother’s Mushroom Barley Soup Will Win Your Heart and Warm Your Bones!

A Hearty Healthy Soup

Our cold winter and snowy Chicago winter has began. That means it is time to make my mother’s hearty soup.  However, you do not have to live in a cold climate to enjoy  making and eating her soup.
For me, it  is the perfect time to make my mother’s mushroom barely soup, just as she always did. Mother would win people’s hearts and warm their winter-chilled bones with her specialty, which is a healthy, comforting, and delicious meal in a bowl!

Delicious Gift

Her specialty was the anticipated centerpiece of her renowned “Soup Parties.” It also was my husband’s favorite birthday gift that she would pack with dry ice and FedEx to our home when we lived in New Jersey and California.

Sylvia’s Mushroom Barley Soup Recipe

Gluten-Free Tip: If you cannot eat barley, you can substitute the barley with quinoa!
Below is my mother’s recipe. I trust you will enjoy it, as much as our family does!
Sylvia’s Mushroom Barley Soup
2 Lbs. of brisket or stir fry meat.
Wash brisket, cut the meat into bite-size pieces, and place in soup pot. Bring meat to a slow boil. Remove meat and wash pot to remove scum.
Return meat to pot and add the following:
2 Marrow bones or 4 beef shank bones
4 Cups of mushrooms – a variety of types creates more flavor
1 Large onion cut into bite-size pieces
2 Cups of carrots, cut into bite-size pieces
2 Cups of celery stalks, including leaves, cut into bite-size pieces
1 Parsnip
1 Celery root or bottom of celery bunch (remove before serving)
1 Large handful of fresh parsley (remove before serving) or use a bunch of parsley roots
½ Sweet potato
1 Clove garlic (with toothpick to remove later) or ¼ tsp. garlic powder
1½ Cups barley (rinsed)

Fill pot with water to cover the vegetables and meat. Cook slowly over low heat for several hours. The soup will thicken the longer it cooks, and you may need to add extra water. Season with salt and pepper to your taste. Refrigerate overnight for the best taste. Skim any fat off the top of the soup and warm before serving.

Make A Thicker Soup

I have amended my mother’s recipe by combining the parsnip, parsley roots, and sweet potato, soup liquid in the blender.  I blend all the vegetable and liquid and then add blended veggies back into the soup to make a thicker soup.

Closing Thoughts


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  1. Jean L Sachs-Nygard on December 31, 2020 at 3:23 am

    Thank you for sharing such a special recipe…and with variations. I look forward to adding this to my limited repertoire…or showing it to Harry who really is the chef here. Happiest of New Years to you and yours.

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