Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Mushroom Barley Soup

This delicious vegetarian soup is so hearty and also easy to prepare. Best of all, it freezes really well so you can make it once, eat some and store the rest for another meal!

·      2 tsp. olive oil
·      1 leek, trimmed to leave 3 in. green, halved lengthwise, sliced crosswise, washed well
·      1 c. diced celery
·      8 c. vegetable broth
·      1-1/2 c. each turnip and peeled carrot (1/2” diced)
·      2 tsp. minced garlic
·      ½ tsp. each caraway seeds, dried thyme and black pepper
·      1 bay leaf, broken in half
·      1 c. quick-cooking barley
·      ¾ lb. sliced mushrooms
·      1 14-½ oz. can diced tomatoes in juice
·      4 c. fresh spinach leaves, shredded

In 5 qt. heavy stockpot, heat olive oil. Add leek and celery; cook over medium heat for 5 minutes until crisp-tender. Add broth, turnip, carrot, minced garlic, caraway seeds, thyme, pepper and bay leaf; bring to a boil. Stir in barley; reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes. Add mushrooms and tomatoes with their juice; simmer 5 minutes until barley and veggies are tender. Stir in shredded spinach; simmer 1 minute or until spinach is wilted. Remove bay leaf halves.

Half of a batch serves 4; you can freeze the remaining soup in a 2 qt. freezer container for up to 3 months.

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