Can you believe growing up I never had mushroom barley soup!?  

Well, it’s true.  

My mother is an Italian cook so barley wasn’t really in her repertoire.  

So, it’s about my 5th or 6th time making it and every time I do, I love it more and more.  

1 small Vidalia onion, diced small

2 cloves of garlic, diced small

4 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon butter

2 8oz. packages of baby bella mushrooms (you can use white button mushrooms as well), stems removed, washed and sliced

6 cups of chicken stock

1 sprig of fresh thyme

1 dried bay leaf

a few leaves of fresh oregano

1 carrot, diced tiny

1 carrot, diced into coins

2 stalks of celery, diced tiny

1 stalk of celery, diced into coins

1 cup of dried barley

pinch of Kosher salt

a few grinds of fresh pepper

In a large stock pot or dutch oven, heat olive oil and butter over low heat.  Add the garlic and onions and sauté for 2 minutes.  Now take your tiny diced carrot and celery and add it to the pot.  Cook on low heat for 10 minutes while stirring frequently.  Add the salt and pepper.  Add the chicken stock.  Add the rest of the vegetables (coined carrots, coined celery, mushrooms).  Stir.  Add the barley and fresh herbs and stir.  Cook on low heat for 45 minutes until barley is cooked through yet al dente.

*Notes: Sometimes barley is hard to find in your neighborhood supermarket.  If you can’t seem to find it; check in the ethnic foods aisle.  I found a package of Goya barley next to the pinto beans!