This is one of the soups I loved growing up that my Mom would make regularly and I've tried to duplicate over the years. It is a hearty soup which is a meal in itself along with a crusty piece of bread. This particular version is made with chicken broth, but vegetarians can easily substitute vegetable broth or stock. It is simple to make, not requiring much time, nor fancy ingredients, but quite satisfying and healthy. It's a wonderful choice for a family dinner or feeding a crowd on a wintry day. —dinner at sheila's
10 to 12 hearty servings
butter or canola oil (I prefer the flavor butter imparts)
diced yellow onions
chopped leeks (white and light green parts only)
fresh white button mushrooms, half sliced, and half diced
chicken broth (low sodium) or chicken stock
mushroom bouillion cube, dissolved in 2 cups boiling water
In a large soup pot saute the onions, carrots, celery and leeks in the melted butter or oil over medium to medium high heat.
Saute for 10-12 minutes until the vegetables are soft and transparent, but not browned, adjusting heat as necessary.
Clean the mushrooms by wiping them off with a damp paper towel before dicing and slicing. Add the mushrooms to the vegetables and cook for another 5-8 minutes.
Stir the mushroom bouillion cube into the 2 cups boiling water. Add this with the 8 cups of broth to the soup pot. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer.
Add the barley, dill, parsley, salt and pepper. Continue to simmer on low heat, with the pot partially covered, for one hour until the barley is tender.
Check for seasoning. Serve in big bowls with a bit of chopped dill or parsley on top, and a hunk of bread for dunking. It is even better the next day!
Note:The soup will thicken as it sits because the barley tends to absorb the broth. When reheating you may want to adjust the consistency by adding a small amount of water. This soup also freezes well.