Mushroom-barley soup – The Boston Globe

Serves 4

The vegetarian version of this nothing-fancy classic bowl celebrates the time-honored pairing of mushrooms and barley. There is plenty of flavor in a soup made only with water, but if you have vegetable stock on hand (homemade is best, of course), use it.

3 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, diced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 pound button mushrooms, sliced
½ cup pearled barley
3 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
5 cups water or vegetable stock
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (for garnish)
½ cup sour cream (for garnish)

1. In a soup pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and thyme, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. Turn the heat to medium-high and add the mushrooms. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes, or until the mushrooms release their liquid and most of it evaporates.

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2. Add the barley and soy sauce, and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add the water or stock, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and set on the cover askew. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes, or until the barley is tender.

3. Ladle into bowls, sprinkle with parsley, and garnish with a spoonful of sour cream.

Sally Pasley Vargas