Vegetable-Barley Soup

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I make rich winter soups all the time, with whatever I have on hand. I even have a couple of varieties in the freezer, but they have been there so long I can’t remember what they are. Why deprive myself of the joy of hot soup cooking on a cold winter afternoon?

I tend to be a purist about chicken, mushroom-barley, and pea  soups. The rest of the time, soup is a means of disposing of the last bit of sauce, cooking liquid, rice, or wilting vegetables. Two teaspoons from the bottom of a bag of lentils is too small a quantity to cook on its own, nor is it worth the trouble of storing until you have more.  So they go in the soup too.

Today I will give a recipe for a winter soup, let’s call it vegetable-barley. We’ll keep it vegetarian and add mushrooms, but not enough to make it mushroom-barley.

Serves 12-16.


  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 4 carrots, peeled
  • 2 stalks celery including leaves
  • 2 onions, peeled
  • 10 button mushrooms
  • 1.5 cups barley
  • 2 tablespoons Tamari or soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup of tomato paste or a can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup parsley, chopped
  • 4 liters (quarts) water, broth, or cooking liquid from vegetables or pasta
  • 1 tablespoon salt


  1. Heat the oil in a large pot.
  2. Take one onion, 2 carrots and 1 stalk of celery and run them through the grater blade of the food processor.
  3. Saute the grated vegetables for 5-10 minutes.
  4. Slice the mushrooms and add to the pot.
  5. Wash barley carefully until it runs clear, then add to the pot.
  6. Cover well with water, about 3 or 4 quarts.
  7. Heat to boil and cook for 30 minutes (or 10 minutes if you are using a pressure cooker.
  8. Take the rest of the vegetables and cube, french-fry, or chop coarsely.
  9. Add the vegetables and other ingredients.
  10. Cook  for 30 minutes. If you are using a pressure cooker, cook 10 minutes. Barley foams, so let the pressure cooker cool off before releasing the steams.

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