Mushroom Barley Soup

This hearty winter soup has enough flavour to complement the sandwich. The barley absorbs a lot of stock and when left to sit overnight, absorbs even more. Add water if it gets too thick. If you have no leeks, increase the onion. I tear rather than cut mushrooms because I like the unusual shapes I get. The mushrooms are all fresh. I also like a touch of cayenne at the end, but that’s a personal preference.

Ready time: 45 minutes
Servings: 4

1 tbsp olive oil

1/2 cup chopped onions

1/2 cup chopped carrots

1/2 cup chopped leeks

1 tsp chopped garlic

1/2 cup pearl barley

1/2 tsp dried marjoram

6 cups chicken stock

4 oz (125 g) brown mushrooms, torn into 1-inch pieces

2 oz (60 g) shiitake mushrooms, torn into 1-inch pieces

3 cups baby spinach

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Heat oil in soup pot over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, leeks and garlic. Sauté for 2 minutes, then add barley and marjoram. Stir to coat in oil.

Add stock and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 to 35 minutes or until barley is just about tender.

Stir in mushrooms and cook for 10 to 15 minutes longer or until tender. Add spinach and let it wilt. Season well with salt and pepper. Serve with the sandwich.