During my last trip to the grocery store I was finally able to get a bag of whole grain pearled barley to make this soup again. It’s nothing fancy, but it’s oh so good on a cold and rainy day. There are loads of veggies in this soup and even some pulverized porcini mushrooms. Dried porcini are quite pricey, but do provide lots of flavor, which is why a small amount of these mushrooms goes a long way. But what gives this soup an unique savoriness is the sautéing of the veggies in a mixture of soy sauce, white wine and the salt. Since this recipe calls for quite a bit more salt than I normally would add to a dish, I use of low sodium soy sauce.
This recipe makes a big pot of soup. It keeps well in the refrigerator for several days and the flavors actually improve each time it’s reheated. Also, barley is a thirsty grain and if it soaked up too much liquid when you’re heating the leftovers, just add a little more water or vegetable broth to the soup.
Personally, I love a bowl of this for breakfast on a cold morning.
Bob’s Red Mill is a great place to shop for whole grains, beans, lentils and all kinds of flour.
But during the pandemic I’ve been getting their products at the grocery store.
Vegetable Barley Soup
- several sprigs of parsley, finely chopped and divided
- 1 bay leaf
- a little fresh thyme and/or oregano (dried will work too)
- 1/8 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
- olive oil
- 2 medium sized leeks, washed, trimmed and sliced thinly into half-moons
- 2 or 3 large carrots, sliced into half-moons also
- 2 to 3 stalks of celery, sliced
- 1/2 cup of white wine
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- salt and pepper
- 10 cups vegetable broth (I use water and a low sodium vegan bouillon)
- 1/2 cup pearl barley
- 1 or 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 pounds firm cooking potatoes
- 1/2 small head of green cabbage, thinly sliced
- 1 small red bell pepper, chopped into small pieces
- 1 cup frozen green peas
- a little fresh lemon juice
- a few croutons for garnish would be nice if you have them
In a large soup pot heat a little oil over medium heat.
Sauté the leeks, carrots, celery, wine, soy sauce and 1 to 2 teaspoons of salt.
Cook until the liquid has almost evaporated and the veggies are getting tender.
Next, add the barley, garlic, herbs, half of the parsley, the porcini and bay leaf.
Combine everything and cook for a couple of minutes.
Add the vegetable broth and bring to a boil.
Partially cover the pot, reduce the heat and simmer gently for about 15 minutes.
Add the potatoes and the cabbage to the pot.
Continue to simmer the soup until the potatoes are tender.
A few minutes before serving add the frozen peas, the remaining parsley
and the bell pepper. Stir and simmer a few more minutes.
Taste the soup and adjust seasoning with some fresh lemon juice
and lots of freshly ground black pepper.
This soup reheats really well and tastes even better the next day.
And it always hits the spot on a cold day!