by Alix E. Ginsburg
¾ cup Barley (can increase to one cup.)
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
3 Medium-sized Celery Stalks, sliced or 2 Large Onions, depending on taste, or substitute Shallots.
1 ½ lb./680 gr. Mushrooms, thickly sliced or chopped. Can use regular White Mushrooms, or you can augment dish with a mix of wild mushrooms such as Crimini, Oyster or Shitake mushrooms.
2 Tbsp. Tomato Paste, optional, but a nice adjunct if you have it around. Adds lovely color. Alternatively, if you like a more liquid soup, use a nicely seasoned tomato sauce, up to a cup.
28-32 oz./820-940 ml. Broth, you can use Vegetable, Chicken or Beef. Can make with water, if broth unavailable.
5 Medium-sized Carrots cut into ¼-inch thick slices, even better if you cut the carrot lengthwise in half first, then cosswise.
¼ Cup White Dry Vermouth, Dry White Wine, dry Red Wine or Dry
1 ½ Tsp. Salt
1 Pinch Pepper
1 tsp. Cumin, Curry or Coriander, Optional
Fresh Sage or other Herbs for Garnish
1. Heat barley and 4 cups of water to boiling in a 3-Quart saucepan. Cover and simmer 30 minutes. Drain barley and set aside.
2. In a larger Dutch oven or saucepan over medium-to-high heat, heat olive oil. Add celery and onion(s); cook 8 to 10 minutes until golden, stirring occasionally.
3.Increase heat to high; add mushrooms and cook 10-12 minutes until liquid evaporates and mushrooms are lightly browned, stirring occasionally.
4.Reduce heat to medium-high;add tomato paste or sauce and cook, stirring, 2 minutes.
5. Add broth or water,carrots, vermouth/wine/sherry, salt, pepper, (optional seasoning), barley, and
4 cups of water; heat to boiling.
6. Reduce heat to low; cover ad simmer 20-25 minutes until carrots ad barley are tender.
7. Garnish with Sage or other herbs, to taste.
Options: Consider adding leeks, fennel, etc.
Comments: Soup keeps well and can be frozen, but loses its texture a bit with freezing.