I think the last time I ate this soup, that I can recall anyway, was in second grade when we made stone soup, which was actually a barley soup with stones speckled throughout. Pretty gross to think of now, but it was pretty awesome back then! This recipe, which I used the Candle Cafe's cookbook as a reference, turned out very tasty, but stupid me got busy packing more and more stuff into boxes, left the pot on the stove over low heat, and ended up not with a soup, but rather, almost a risotto. But it was still quite tasty!
Mushroom Barley Soup ala Risotto:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cup medium diced carrots, about 3 medium
11/2 cups chopped celery, 2 stalks
1 cup medium diced onion, 1 medium
1 1/2 cups sliced crimini mushrooms
3 cups mushroom stock
3 cups filtered water
2 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup barley, rinsed
2 bay leaves
1. In a large pot over medium heat, add the olive oil. Allow it to become hot, then add the carrots, celery and onions. Stir and allow to cook for about 5 minutes, till softened.
2. Add the mushrooms and gently stir, trying to keep them whole.
3. Add the rinsed barley, stirring to coat with all of the ingredients. (This is to keep the grains separate. If you were to add them with the stock at the same time, they would clump together more.) Once the barley is dry, add the stock, water, salt and pepper and bay leaves.
3. Allow the soup ingredients to come to a boil. Reduce the heat and allow the soup to simmer for about half hour, stirring periodically, until the barley is cooked all the way through.
4. To make it into the "risotto" I ended up with, cook it for about double the time over low heat. ;)