Friday, October 29, 2010

Mushroom and Barley Soup

Fall is here, so hearty meals are back. This soup fits the bill when you want something warm to take the chill off. Leave the vegetables large, if you like to see them. Chop them up small if you like the taste, but don't want to know (or don't want others to know) what makes this soup so delicious.


1 tsp olive oil
1 cup sliced leek
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 cup sliced celery
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1/4 cup white wine (optional)
1/4 cup uncooked pearl barley
1 quart chicken or vegetable broth
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley, plus 2 Tbs for garnish
1/4 cup soy creamer
up to 1/2 tsp salt
up to 1/4 tsp ground pepper


Heat olive oil in a heavy bottomed pot or Dutch oven. Add leeks and garlic and cook about 5 minutes, until leeks turn bright green. Add celery and mushrooms and cook another 5 minutes, until the mushrooms begin to give off their liquid. Add the white wine and continue to cook for another minute or so. Add the barley, broth, bay leaf and 1/4 cup of the parsley. Simmer the soup about 40 minutes, until the barley is tender. Stir in the creamer, then taste the soup and correct the seasoning with the salt and pepper. Garnish each bowl with a little of the parsley just before serving.

Serves 4

Stealthy Cooking Tip: This tip is more about speed cooking. There's lots of time that I simply don't have time to cut and measure all of the ingredients. It's much faster once you learn how to "eyeball" measurements. For example, 1/4 cup equals one of my handfuls, 1/2 cup is two handfuls. One teaspoon is about the size of my thumb. Check out measurements yourself by measuring 1/4 cup of something, then comparing it to your handful. It will speed up your cooking! Most soups and stews can easily be made by eyeballing the ingredients. It's only when you get to baking things like cakes, cookies, and candies that you need exact measurements.

No comments: