Creamy Mushroom and Barley Soup

Yo, Vegans! This soup is amazing!

Mushroom Barley Soup

After reading a Martha Stewart recipe where she used a “bouquet garni” I’ve become obsessed with using them in my soups.  They’re so great because you put all the herbs in a little pouch, then you can remove it at the end.  No need to fish out that bay leaf anymore!  I have been using a large tea ball to make them, but you can also use cheesecloth!

I used barley in this recipe, which I think is what makes it super creamy.  I also added a 1/2 cup of milk at the end, but you can just use more stock if you’re looking for the dairy-free option!

Ingredients
1
tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 pounds baby bella mushrooms (or any fresh mushrooms)
1/2 cup pearled barley
4 cups vegetable stock
A bouquet garni made with two bay leafs, fresh thyme and rosemary, 1/4 tsp whole black peppercorns, and some hard swiss cheese (optional)
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup milk or more vegetable stock (if making vegan soup)

Directions
1) Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large stock pot and add the onion. Cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and a pinch of salt. Cook about 30 seconds, then add the mushrooms. Cook until they just begin to release their water and soften a bit, about 5 minutes.
2) Add the barley, vegetable stock, bouquet garni, Worcestershire sauce and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer 45 minutes. Remove the bouquet garni.
3) Add half the soup to the blender and blend until smooth and creamy.  Leave the other half in the pot to keep the soup a little chunky. Return the blended soup to the pot, and add the milk (or the vegetable stock).  Heat until just bubbly and hot. Add salt, to taste. I served this soup with a dollop of fresh, homemade yogurt, but if you want to keep it vegan, you can leave it out.  Or use some vegan sour cream.  We also had some fresh baked bread from Muelsa, which was a wonderful compliment to a delicious soup.

Yum.

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