Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Hearty Mushroom Barley Soup

Part of the fun of Eat This...It'll Make You Feel Better! is the unabashed starf***ery; Dom DeLuise seemed to know just about everyone in showbiz, and is as downright chatty about the stars as he is his family in this book.
Julann's Fat-Free, Hearty Mushroom Barley Soup

I was the very first guest on the Merv Griffin television show back in 1961. It was at that time that I met Merv's wife, Julann Griffin. We have been good friends ever since. Julann is a very unique woman. She makes her own soap, she has kept bees, she has even been known to make beer in a bathtub! She was the president of the First Women's Bank of California, she plays a mean game of tennis, and she even invented the game "Jeopardy" that Merv produces for television. Julann is a very funny lady, and I have laughed till I cried with her. I've also just cried. She is a fabulous friend, a great cook, and is very concerned with eating healthfully. I have had some of Julann's wonderful, fat-free, hearty soups, and I know you'll love this one as much as I do. (If you'd like this soup a little less "hearty," add more chicken broth and/or tomato juice to your taste.)

1 1/2 cups barley
3 tomatoes, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
6 cups chicken stock
2 cups tomato juice
4 fresh sweet basil leaves, chopped
1/2 teaspoon oregano
10-15 mushrooms, thinly sliced
pepper to taste
lowfat yogurt

In a soup pot combine barley, tomatoes, carrots, onion, garlic, chicken stock, tomato juice, and herbs. Stir. Bring to a boil. Lower heat, and cover, but not completely -- leave lid slightly askew. Stir occasionally. Let soup simmer 1 hour, then stir in the mushrooms. Add pepper and let simmer 1 more hour. Ladle into hot soup bowls and top each with a spoonful of yogurt.

Serves 8-10.
I cringe to think of adding garlic and onions to a soup without a nice sauté first, but this soup is simmering for a long time, so the sharpness has plenty of a chance to mellow.

And, isn't there just something perfectly autumnal about a thick soup with barley and mushrooms?

DeLuise's gushing description of his friend might make you think she and Merv were still married at press time; they were not, having divorced in 1973. Their son is in entertainment, too -- best credit: Prison Guard, Spaceballs. And, though creating Jeopardy! is pretty cool, how much cooler is it that she also composed the theme song?

This post might be a little scattered; Chefly Husband and I are celebrating our 8th wedding anniversary today, and I'm a bit giddy and unfocused.


  1. Happy Anniversary! The soup sounds good - wish someone would make me a big pot of it, and while they're at it a nice loaf of homemade bread. Might as well dream, right?

  2. Oh, yes, some bread to sop it up.... mmmm.