May 16, 2012
½-¾ cup pearl barley
1 medium can mushrooms (or 1 box fresh)
8 cups water
1½-2 tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
2 potatoes, cubed
2 carrots, cubed or grated
2 zucchini, cubed
generous pinch nutmeg
2 Tbls butter
2 medium onions, diced
2 stalks celery, sliced
1¾ cup milk
3 heaping Tbls flour
1. In a 4-6 quart or liter pot, put the barley, canned mushrooms, water, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil and cook on a low flame for 1½ hours. Add potatoes, carrots, and zucchini, and cook for an additional hour. Add nutmeg.
2. While this is cooking, saute the onions and celery, and fresh mushrooms (if not using canned) in butter until golden. Add them to the pot and cook another half hour.
3. Whisk together the milk and flour until smooth. Add to the soup and cook for 10 more minutes, until thickened. Keep stirring, so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot. Taste soup, and adjust seasoning.
Variation: I prefer a soup that is chock full of veggies. It’s both satisfying and nutritious. If your family doesn’t like zucchini, for example, disguise it! Shred it, instead of cubing it, and nobody will know it’s there! Of course, you can even leave the celery out, if your kids will make faces! However, the more veggies there are, the more robust the flavor.
Tip: This soup can be made lo-fat, as well. It comes out delicious with skim milk and light butter. You can also use whole wheat flour instead of white flour.
Note: For an interesting gourmet twist, add thinly sliced fennel (@@shumar@@). Uncooked, it has a mild licorice flavor and crunchy texture (it can be added to salads). Cooked, the flavor becomes more delicate and the texture softens.
Decorating tip: Almost any bowl of soup will be enhanced by an added splash of color or a bit of extra flavor. Chopped fresh herbs are the simplest of all garnishes. Choose one that complements the soup’s flavor and color. Garnish this soup with thin carrot sticks or chopped fresh chives.
This recipe appeared in Mishpacha Magazine's Family First section, Shavuos 2011.