Monday, November 11, 2013

Mushroom Barley Soup-Meatless

Have you ever tried photographing a steaming pot of soup? Impossible, I tell you!

The weather finally turned cold here, with 13 degrees F. expected this evening. That calls for extra blankets, and a generous bowl of mushroom barley soup. Mine is vegetarian, but you could easily make this with beef broth. Some people like leftover brisket in their mushroom barley soup. My parents used chunks of kosher salami. I imagine sausage would be good as well. Or mutton (if you can get it). The point is, you can adapt this soup to transform it into a main dish.

I can't possibly know how thick you like your soup. Bear in mind that this will thicken as it sits, and if you've made enough for several meals (why wouldn't you?) it may turn into a stew in the fridge. That's OK, as you can always water it down a bit. The soup freezes well, and if you store it in freezer bags it will take up very little space, but provide you with several meals through winter.

You Will Need:

Vegetable stock cubes (use 1 cube per cup of water)
Water to cover
1-2 cups frozen lima beans
4 large carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 lb. mushrooms, chopped
2 bay leaves
1 large sprig thyme or teaspoon dried
Black pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups pearl barley

Place your vegetables and spices in a large stock pot. Add enough water to cover the vegetables, counting how many cups it takes as you add. Add 1 additional cup of water, and then add the required number of stock cubes (or just use stock if you have it). Stir, bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer then cover leaving lid open to vent. Simmer several hours or until soup has cooked down, and barley and vegetables are soft. You may need to add additional water, so keep some hot water handy in a kettle in case. You may wish to adjust the salt up or down (water works if you're over-salted, but so does some boiled potato, which goes nicely with this sort of soup).

Go grab a big bowl, and warm yer-self up good.

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