Mushroom barley soup is a comfort food staple for many people. It's warm, tasty, good for you, and easily one of my favorite mushroom soup recipes.
For this recipe I use pearl barley, which is simply hulled barley with the outer bran layer polished off. It contains less fiber, but it's still nutritious and takes far less time to cook with no pre-soaking.
The barley to broth ratio below yields a good, thick soup. Experiment with the amounts to see what works for you. Add more barley and you'll get a hearty stew instead of a soup. Also delicious!
Don't forget the mushrooms. Porcini mushrooms are great here but cheap button mushrooms will work in a pinch.
Warm the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until they are translucent, about 5 minutes.
Add the carrots, celery, and garlic and cook for another 5 minutes.
Add the broth, vinegar, mushrooms, and barley. Bring everything to a boil and then reduce the heat to low.
Cover the pot and let the soup simmer until the barley is tender, usually around an hour. Check and stir as it's cooking.
When the barley is done, remove the pot from the heat and let it cool a little. Salt to taste and reward your patience with a warm, comforting bowl of mushroom soup!