Danish Barley Soup
This is wonderfully filling, easy to make, pretty to look at, and nice going down. It's the barley, of course--such a nice consistency to that ancient cereal grain. I like it with a dark, rich beef stock--which highlighted the vegetable colors so well--but a vegetable stock or even water is also good. Serve hot as a light meal or a substantial first course to 4-6 people, ideally with hunks of bread and lots of butter and cheese. It's great with beer.
Garnish: thick sour cream
Bring 3 cups of stock or water to a boil in a saucepan, add rinsed barley, then reduce heat and simmer for an hour, until tender.
Bring the remaining 3 cups of stock or water to a boil in a large saucepan, add the onion, carrot, celery, and mushrooms, reduce heat, and simmer until tender--from 30-45 minutes.
When ready to serve, pour the barley-broth in to the vegetables, toss in the butter, salt and pepper to taste, and bring to a fast boil. Ladle into bowls and swirl big spoonsful of sour cream into each serving. Pass hunks of bread with lots of butter and cheese.