I often join the “Meatless Monday” club and try to plan a mostly vegetable-focused dinner when I can. This soup is one of my vegetarian favorites. I was especially pleased with it recently when I prepared it in tandem with a baking project. I had a yearning for Marge’s Mandelbrot so I measured and mixed the dough, and while it was resting in the refrigerator I used a lot of the same utensils and bowls to make the soup. Needless to say, the house smells ah-maze-ing.
This soup makes a good amount (about two quarts) so it’s a perfect one to share with friends and family. I ended up adding some carrots to the soup and garnishing with parsley because otherwise, it is brown, brown, brown. One of my “things” is that I like food to look appealing.
Midway through the cooking process, when the barley was done and the mushroom/onion/garlic mixture was nice and soft and fragrant, I thought about how delicious it would be to serve just the slow sauteed mushrooms and cooked barley, perhaps with some fresh tarragon slivers, chopped tomato and fresh corn kernels as a side dish. This is going to happen one of these days while I can still get fresh corn and juicy tomatoes at the farmers market!
Monday Mushroom Barley Soup
(Adapted from the Moosewood Cookbook)
- ½ cup uncooked pearl barley
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3-4 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
- 4 tablespoons dry sherry
- 6 ½ cups stock or water (I added a tiny bit (1 ½ tsp?) of Better than Boullion chicken flavor. Be careful if you add more because of the salt factor.)
- 1 medium brown skinned onion, chopped
- ¼ c parsley leaves, coarsely chopped for garnish
- 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
- 1 ¼ lb fresh Cremini mushrooms, sliced
- fresh ground black pepper
- 3 large carrots, peeled and sliced into ¼ inch rounds
- ½ tsp salt-add more to taste
Cook barley in 1 ½ cups of the stock or water in a large saucepan or Dutch oven. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer until barley is tender (20-30 minutes). Add remaining 4 ½ stock or water, tamari and sherry.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a skillet. Add the onions, and garlic Sauté for about five minutes over medium heat. Add mushrooms and salt. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally until everything is very tender (about 10-12 minutes).
Add the sautéed vegetables with all their liquid to the cooked barley. Add carrots and fresh ground black pepper to taste and simmer, partially covered, for another 20 minutes.
Serve in mugs or shallow bowls, garnishing with chopped parsley.