Good for cold weather, and relatively cheap. You can double the quantities for more soup.
- a bunch of scallions
- 3 or 4 cups Vegetable broth (canned if you don't have any frozen or fresh; you can use chicken if you prefer)
- a cup of barley (this is sold with the cereal in my grocery, over by the oatmeal)
- some dried mushrooms (I like shiitake)
- 3-4 stalks celery
- frozen peas
- salt, pepper, thyme, a bay leaf
Cut up the scallions and the mushrooms. Put them and the barley into the broth and cook until the barley is soft. This will take about 15 or 20 minutes. Put the bay leaf and the thyme in at this point too.
I use a whole twig of thyme -- my store sells it fresh little packets pretty cheap, and then it's easy to fish out before I serve the soup, along with the bay leaf. But you can use the kind that comes in the bottle, it's fine that way.
If you're using chicken broth and you want to, you can add some chicken here. I do this when I have leftover chicken.
Once the barley is done, cook your peas while you cut up the celery. Put the celery in the soup and cook briefly -- like two minutes. Add the peas and stir. Add salt and pepper.
Serve with good bread.