I mentioned this soup in a comment about two years ago. I can't believe I've never posted the recipe. Since we work lonnnngggg days on Mondays and Wednesdays, I like to have dinner all made when we get home. So on Sundays, I generally plan out my meals. I always like to make do with what I have, especially since I want to (maybe) buy myself a birthday handbag 18 months early. Pantry cooking obviously requires no outlay of cash.
Cream of Barley Soup with Mushrooms (copied from a defunct blog--so already simplified from the source: Deborah Madison's book of soups)
Cover 1/3 cup of hulled barley with water - set aside. Heat a pot with 2T olive oil and 1 T butter. Add 2 large chopped shallots* and 1/4 tsp dried oregano and saute for about 5 minutes. Add 2 grated* carrots, 2 minced cloves of garlic and 1 chopped leek*, saute for 10 more minutes. Drain the barley and add to the pot with 6 cups of water and 1.5 tsp of salt. Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile simmer 1/3 cup barley in salted water for 30 minutes.
While barley in the soup pot is cooked - puree with 1 cup of sour cream*. Return to pot - salt and pepper to taste. Add cooked barley. Top with pan fried sliced mushrooms and serve with bread.
*I subbed my frozen caramelized onions for the shallots and leeks. I chopped the carrots. I cooked the soaked barley with everything.
Sadly, I am out of sour cream, so I'm subbing some half and half that's on its way to oblivion.
Barley keeps growing! Every time you re-heat, you have to add water. I think this is one of those immortal soups. I thought this would make two dinners, but I think it will make three.