Recipe: Mushroom Barley Soup

0011Delicious on a cold winter day. Serve with a hearty bread or muffin and a green salad for a complete meal.

2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. butter
16 oz. mushrooms, chopped
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
1/2 tsp. salt, or to taste
1/4 tsp. black pepper
2 (14-oz.) cans vegetable or chicken broth
2 cup water
1/2 cup pearl barley*
1 medium carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1/4 cup cream or dry sherry, optional
    (in my files, sherry is a must! Try Wisdom & Warter Extra
    Amontillado Sherry)

Heat oil and butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add mushrooms through black pepper. Cook, stirring, over medium-high heat until the vegetables release juices and most of the liquid has evaporated (about 5 min). Add broth, water and barley; bring to a boil, stirring often. Reduce heat to a simmer.* Cook, stirring occasionally, until barley is barely tender, about 45 min. Add parsley, celery and carrot. Simmer 30 minutes more. Add sherry; heat through before serving.

*If using quick-cook barley add here along with vegetables. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until all is tender, about 15 minutes.