This is a hearty and satisfying soup, perfect on its own or served with some good crusty bread for dipping.
1/4 cup barley
1 cup water
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/4 yellow onion, diced
1/2 carrot, diced
1/2 stalk celery, diced
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
1 small portobello mushroom cap, diced
1 1/4-1 1/2 cups low-sodium beef stock
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs fresh thyme
Country-style bread, toasted, optional
1. In a small saucepan, bring barley and water to a boil. Cover and reduce to medium low and simmer until tender, about 30 minutes.
2. In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions, carrot and celery and sauté until softened, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add mushrooms and cook for another 5 minutes.
3. Add 1 1/4 cup stock, bay leaf and thyme and simmer over low heat for another 15-20 minutes. Stir in cooked barley and cook for another 10 minutes, until flavors blend together and vegetables are softened (add in more stock as needed). Remove bay leaf and sprigs of thyme and serve with toasted bread (if using).