- 2 large shallots, diced
- 2 slices bacon, chopped (optional)
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp dried (or 1 tsp fresh) thyme
- 1/4 tsp paprika
- 2 quarts mushroom or chicken stock
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 cup pearl barley, rinsed well
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- 1 lb cremini mushrooms, quartered
- 1 can white beans
- 1/2 tsp salt (to taste)
- In a large Dutch oven or stock pot, heat 1/2 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Saute the shallot until translucent, then add the bacon and cook until browned. Add the garlic, red pepper, cumin, thyme, and paprika and cook until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.
- Cover the onion bacon mixture with the stock and bring to a boil. Add the barley and bay leaf, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer covered for 25 minutes. Add the mushroom and carrots, and continue to simmer covered for another 20-35 minutes. Add the white beans and simmer for 5-10 minutes more.
- When the barley is tender, remove the bay leaf and taste for seasoning.
- Ladle into bowls and enjoy hot, with a drizzle of olive oil.