This mushroom and barley soup has a rich, thick texture and gives new meaning to the definition of comfort food! I think using fresh leeks instead of onions enhances the taste immeasurably. And, as is the case with most soups, the flavors intensify when refrigerated overnight.
1 pound mushrooms (wiped clean with a damp paper towel)
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) margarine or butter
2 leeks (white and pale green parts only), chopped
8 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 pound potatoes (about 2 large), peeled and diced
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup pearl barley
4 bay leaves
Salt and pepper to taste
Separate mushroom stems from caps. Slice caps and set aside. Chop stems. Melt margarine or butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add mushroom stems, garlic, and leeks, and sauté until tender, about 7 minutes. Mix in chicken or vegetable broth, potatoes, carrot, barley, and bay leaves. Cover and simmer 40 minutes.
Uncover soup, add mushroom caps, and continue simmering until vegetables are tender, about 25 minutes. Season soup with salt and pepper and serve, or refrigerate until the next day.
Makes 8 servings.
Sue Friedman is famous for her homemade soups and other culinary creations. She lives in Needham with her husband and three daughters. [The Food Editor's son is one of Sue's biggest fans!]
Mushroom and Barley Soup