mushroom barley soup

This is a hearty and satisfying soup, perfect on its own or served with some good crusty bread for dipping.

1 cup barley
3 cups water
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 large carrots, peeled and diced
2 large stalks celery, diced
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 large portobello mushroom caps, cleaned and diced
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
6-7 cups homemade (or low-sodium) vegetable stock
Sourdough bread, for serving, optional

  1. In a large saucepan, bring barley and water to a boil. Cover and reduce to medium-low and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain off any excess water and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and set aside.
  2. In another large saucepan, heat oil and butter over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, and celery and cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add mushrooms, bay leaf, and thyme and cook for another 5 minutes.
  3. Add 6 cups stock and simmer over low heat for another 10 minutes. Add cooked barley and cook for another 10 minutes, until flavors blend together and vegetables are softened (add more stock as needed). Remove bay leaf and serve with sourdough bread (if using).

Serves 4-6.