Barley Soup with Miso

Makes 12 servings

The addition of miso adds a delicate Asian flavor; the bright green dill, a nice jolt of color.

Ingredients:

2 medium onions

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3 garlic cloves

4 celery stalks, peeled

4 medium carrots, peeled

1 pound white mushrooms

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup medium pearl barley

8 cups vegetable broth

1 bunch fresh dill

2 tablespoons barley miso paste (see note following Preparation steps.)

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

It is easy to chop the vegetables in a food processor. Quarter the onions and garlic, and pulse in the food processor until coarse; remove to a bowl. Cut the celery and carrots into large pieces. Pulse them separately until coarse, and add to the onions and garlic. Wipe the mushrooms with a damp paper towel and cut them in quarters. Pulse until coarse and set aside. (If you chop everything together, the vegetables will become mushy.)

Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Saute the onions, garlic, celery, and carrots for 1 minute. Add the barley and broth and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat and cook, covered, for 15 minutes.

Add the mushrooms to the soup along with half the dill. Cook for another 15 minutes or until the barley is tender. Remove and discard the dill. Stir in the miso and season to taste with salt and pepper. Snip the remaining dill for garnish.

Note: You can buy barley miso in most health-food stores.

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