Mushroom, Barley, and Red Pepper Soup

Barley adds good old-fashioned heartiness soup-real winter filler. Add more or different herbs suit your own taste.

Serves: 6

1 cup Pearl Barley
2-3 tbls. Olive Oil
3 Onions (peeled and finely chopped)
2 Garlic Cloves (peeled and finely chopped)
3 Red Peppers (cored, descended, and cut into 1-inch strips)
3/4 lb. Button Mushrooms (halved and thinly sliced)
1-3/4 qts. Chicken Stock or Vegetable Stock
2 tbls. Fresh Thyme Leaves
2 Bay Leaves
1 tbls. Fresh Marjoram (chopped)
2 Strips Lemon Zest
Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1 juice from 1 Lemon
Fresh Thyme or Marjoram (for garnish)

1. Puts the barley into a pan with plenty of cold water, brings to the boil, simmer for 2 minutes then drain. Return to the pan with plenty of fresh cold water and add a little sale. Bring to the boil; reduce the heat, and partially cover, and simmer for 1 hour. Drain well.

2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion and garlic and gently fry until soft and translucent. Add peppers and mushrooms and sweat over a gentle heat for 5 minutes.

3. Add the stock, cooked barley, herbs, lemon zest, and pepper. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat, and cover, simmer for 45 minutes.

4. Remove the lemon zest and bay leaves and discard. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary, and stir in the lemon juice. Serve the soup garnished with thvnu-marjoram.

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