1leek,white and light green part, sliced into quarter moons
1medium carrot,thinly sliced
1poundsliced mushrooms(cremini or white button are fine)
1glug red wine
1quartvegetable or mushroom broth(see notes)
1tablespoonsoy sauce(or Worcestershire sauce if not vegetarian)
¾cupuncooked pearled barley
3or 4 fresh thyme stems
1tablespoonchopped fresh flat-leaf parsley,for garnish after cooking
Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a 4 qt Dutch oven or soup pot (that has a lid) over medium until shimmering. Add the leeks, onions, celery and carrots, and cook until the onions are soft, about five minutes.
While the vegetables simmer, take about 1/3 of the sliced mushrooms and give them a rough chop. Add the chopped mushrooms to the pot, and cover. Cook until the mushrooms have released their juices and are nicely browned, 8 to 10 minutes.
Remove the lid and add a glug of wine to the pot. Stir well, and let the alcohol cook off for about 5 minutes.
Scoot everything to one side of the pot. Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil to the cleared spot. Spoon the tomato paste, smoked paprika, marjoram, and a large pinch of salt over the oil. Stir to bloom the spices and create a fragrant paste.
Add a splash of the broth to the paste, stirring to loosen into a sauce. Mix the sauce into the vegetables.
Add the remaining broth to the pot soy sauce (or Worcestershire sauce). Pour in the uncooked barley and give everything a good stir. Add the sliced mushrooms, bay leaves and thyme stems. Increase heat to bring the soup to a boil, then reduce to maintain a steady simmer while partially covered.
Cook for 45 minutes, stirring now and then to keep things from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
Begin checking the soup during the final 15 minutes of cooking. The soup will have seemed very liquidy at the start of the cook, but the barley will absorb a great deal of the liquid while it cooks. If the soup is still liquidy, remove the lid while the soup finishes.
Taste and add more salt if necessary. Finish with the chopped parsley and serve immediately.
Barley is like a sponge, so if you're making the soup a day ahead, be prepared for the barley to quickly absorb all of the liquids, creating a stew more than a soup. Adding water or broth at that point is tricky, because you'll inevitably throw off the balance of flavors that you created when cooking the soup. Instead, you could make the soup as directed but cook the barley separately, and then combine the soup and barley when heating it up to serve. You can still make the barley ahead, just refrigerate the soup and barley in separate containers.Broth: to keep the soup vegetarian, use a vegetable, mushroom, or "no-chicken" broth. But if your family is not vegetarian, you could use beef broth instead. In all cases, low-sodium provides plenty of flavor, plus you can control the salt yourself.Worcestershire sauce: don't forget that Worcestershire sauce is made with anchovies and is not vegetarian. To keep the soup veg, use soy sauce or tamari.
Mushroom Barley Soup was originally published on https://soupaddict.com/mushroom-barley-soup/