Another week and we're still eating healthy here. Woo-hoo, very proud of ourselves! This week I decided to try my hand at mushroom barley soup, but instead of heading out to the store to buy vegetable stock, I made my own.
Stock is crazy simple. Throw a bunch of veggies into a pot with a lot of water, bring it to a boil and then simmer for hours until the veggies have no flavor. I threw carrots, celery, onions, and garlic into my pot of water and did some writing and book promotion while I waited.
I have to tell you, homemade stock is so much better than store-bought. Do you remember when I made risotto? I was convinced it would be terrible because the vegetable stock smelled so bad. It turned out just fine, but I have to admit, I feel so much better using the wonderfully aromatic homemade version.
But all that is lead-up for the actual recipe I'm bringing you today... which is not so much a recipe as a set of guidelines.
Mushroom Barley Soup
1/2 cup barley soaked for at least 8 hours
+/- 8 oz mushrooms, sliced. I used regular white mushrooms and baby bellas
+/- 1 small onion, chopped
+/- 2 cloves garlic, minced
+/- 1/2 cup white wine
A couple of pinches each of: oregano, garlic powder, rosemary
6 cups +/- vegetable stock. I wound up adding a cup or two more late in the simmering process
If there are particular herbs you like in your soup, feel free to add. These work for me. Next time I may consider adding a bay leaf or two.
Cook the barley by boiling it in water until tender. Drain.
Saute the onions and garlic. Add the wine and simmer for about 20 minutes. Add the stock, the mushrooms, the oregano, garlic powder, and rosemary.
Allow this to simmer for about an hour or so. Add the barley and simmer for about 15 minutes. Determine whether you need to add more stock. If you do, simmer a little longer until the flavor is strong enough. Serve.
This is not a soup that's full of cream or butter so it tastes much lighter and fresher than most barley soups I've tried before. At first sip, I thought it wasn't flavorful enough, but it grew on me quickly and I find myself craving more now. It really is good -- best of all, it *feels* good -- and the little bit we had left over disappeared quickly.
Plus - it's vegetarian.
Hope you enjoy!
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