Mushroom and Barley Soup

Recipe by: AMC Collection, Cooking with the Asheville Mushroom Club, p. 29

In a large, heavy soup pot, combine the broth, barley, carrots and tarragon; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered, until the barley is just tender but not mushy, no more than 30 minutes.  Heat the oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Add the diced onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until wilted, about 10 minutes.  Add the minced garlic and cook 3 minutes longer.   Add all the mushrooms (if using reconstituted mushrooms, squeeze them until they are fairly dry before adding to the pan), raise the heat to medium high and cook, stirring, for 10 minutes.  * (See Note) Add this mixture to to soup pot.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Cook the soup for 20 minutes.  Stir in the sherry and parsley, then adjust the seasonings.  Serve hot.  Serves 8.

Note: * After browning the mushrooms, put them aside.  You can heat sliced smoked sausage, diced ham, or cooked chicken pieces in a little oil in the saute pan for a few minutes, then add the meat/chicken to the soup with the mushrooms and continue cooking for an even heartier feast.