Recipe: Vegetable Barley Soup

from the book Moosewood Restaurant New Classics

Vegetable Barley Soup
  • 1/2 cup raw hulled barley -- see note
  • 7 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups cubed white potatoes
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 1 cup diced red or yellow bell peppers
  • 1 cup peeled and diced carrots
  • 1 cup cut green beans -- (1-inch pieces)
  • 1 cup cubed yellow or green summer squash
  • 1 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 tablespoons dry sherry
  • 3 tablespoons barley miso
  • ground black pepper -- to taste
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • chopped scallions

Rinse the barley and place it in a medium saucepan with 3 cups of the
water. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer on low heat until tender, 1 1/4
to 1 1/2 hours. Drain.

Warm the oil in a large nonreactive soup pot. Add the onions and salt and
cook on medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned,
about 3 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 4 cups of water to simmer
in a saucepan.

Stir the potatoes, celery, bell peppers, carrots, green beans, squash, and
mushrooms into the onions until well coated with oil. Add the marjoram,
thyme, and sherry. Cook for 2 minutes more, stirring constantly.

Pour the simmering water into the soup pot. Ladle out 1/2 cup of water and
combine with the miso to form a smooth saucy paste; then return it to the
pot. Add pepper to taste, cover and simmer until the vegetables are
tender, about 15 minutes. Add the drained barley to the soup, stir in the
parsley, and cook for 5 minutes more. Serve topped with scallions.

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