Even though it was a wonderfully warm December day today (61 degrees on 12/13 in MICHIGAN!), I still wanted to make the soup I'd been planning to make while the mushrooms were still nice and fresh. Aaron and I love this soup; it's thick and filling while remaining healthy and low cal!
It's a pressure cooker recipe, so it's easy and on the table quickly. If you don't have a pressure cooker, the parts that call for using the browning feature can be replaced by medium-high heat. The 11 minutes at high pressure should be replaced by 45-55 minutes at medium heat, stirring frequently, until the barley is tender.
1 TBS margarine (or olive oil)
1 onion, diced
1 celery rib, diced
2-3 carrots, peeled and sliced into thin circles (should measure about 1 cup)
16 ounces of mushrooms, sliced
4 cloves of garlic, minced finely
1/2 tsp thyme
1 tsp dill
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground pepper
1/4 cup merlot (optional)
3/4 cup pearl barley
6 cups vegetarian broth (I used 6 cups of water and 3 cubes of Not-Beef broth)
3 TBS cornstarch
Using the browning setting of your pressure cooker, melt the margarine and add in the onion, celery, and carrots, cooking for about 5 minutes while stirring occasionally. I used this time to wash and chop up my mushrooms, which I then add to the pot and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring regularly to prevent scorching. Add in the garlic, thyme, dill, paprika, pepper, and merlot (if using), barley, and broth. Close the lid and cook at high pressure for 11 minutes. Use a natural release.
I like to throw together some simple biscuits at this point so they are coming out of the oven right around when the soup is done.
Once the pressure cooker's lid is open, turn the browning feature back on and steal about 1/4 cup of the broth and put it in a small bowl, then slowly whisk in the 3 tablespoons of cornstarch. It should form a thick (but smooth) sauce. Add that mix back into the soup and allow it to come to a boil (about 1 minute) while stirring. Once it thickens, it's ready!
Serve with biscuits!
Nutrition (per 2-cup serving, makes about 8 cups):
Carbs: 45g (22%)
Protein: 7.4 g (10%)
Fat: 3.4g (8%)
Fiber: 9.5g (27%)
Vitamin A: 103%
Vitamin C: 7%