2/3cuppearl barleyuse quick-cooking barley or soak barley in water overnight to cut cooking time
64oz.reduced-sodium chicken or vegetable broth (or use any variety)
2Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2clovesgarlicminced, about 1 tsp.
16oz.sliced cremini or white button mushrooms
2stalks celerythinly sliced
1Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce (for a vegetarian and gluten-free option use 6 drops hot sauce and 1/4 tsp. sugar per each Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce)
2Tbsp.sherryor use 1 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
1/4tsp. saltor to taste
1/8tsp.black pepperor to taste
Rinse the barley in cold water (or drain the pre-soaked barley). Combine the broth and barley in a large stockpot and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer it, stirring occasionally, until it is almost tender. (If you are using quick-cooking barley, it should be tender after 10 minutes; pre-soaked barley should be tender after 20 minutes. If you haven't pre-soaked the barley, then simmer it for 40 minutes.)
Meanwhile, in a large heavy skillet heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté them until they are lightly browned, about 5 minutes.
Add the garlic, mushrooms, and celery and sauté them until the mushrooms have softened and darkened, about 5 more minutes. Remove it from the heat.
After the barley has simmered for 10 - 40 minutes (see guideline above), add the mushroom-onion mixture, carrots, and Worcestershire sauce to the soup. Simmer it for 10 - 15 minutes, until the barley and carrots are tender.
Stir in the sherry, warm the soup through, and season it with salt and pepper.
Puree the soup with an immersion or standing blender for a smoother texture, if desired. Serve it immediately, refrigerate it for up to 3 days (the barley will absorb much of the broth, so add extra liquid as needed), or freeze it for up to 3 months.
Slow Cooker Directions
Combine all ingredients in the slow cooker and cook on low for 6 - 7 hours or on high for 3 hours. After the barley and vegetables are tender, puree it with an immersion or standing blender for a smoother texture, if desired.
(Slow cooker cooking times may vary—Get to know your slow cooker and, if necessary, adjust cooking times accordingly.)
Do Ahead or Delegate: Soak the barley (unless using the quick-cooking variety), chop the onion, peel the garlic, slice the mushrooms if necessary, slice the celery and carrots, or fully prepare and refrigerate or freeze the soup.Scramble Flavor Booster: Serve the soup with hot pepper sauce, such as Tabasco.Tip: While it may feel easier to take a vitamin or nutritional supplement and skimp on fruits and vegetables, try to get these important nutrients from whole foods. Each day researchers learn more about the health benefits of produce and whole grains, and not all of them can be bottled.Nutritional Information Per Serving (% based upon daily values): Calories 200, Total Fat: 8g, 12%; Saturated Fat: 3g, 10.5%; Cholesterol: 7mg, 2.5%; Sodium: 186mg, 8%; Total Carbohydrate: 27g, 9%; Dietary Fiber: 5g, 21%; Sugar: 5g; Protein: 9gLike this recipe? Check out The Scramble's family-friendly meal plans to see just how simple getting dinner on the table can be!