Barley and Shitake Mushroom Soup


* 1 cup barley
* 2 handfuls dry shitake mushrooms
* 6 cups water
* 5 large cloves garlic
* 1 stick celery
* 1/4 cup sherry
* 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce

Bring 5 cups water to the boil. Add dry mushrooms. Let soak for an hour. While you let the mushrooms soak, slice the celery into 1/4 inch / 7 millimeter pieces.

In a small pot, boil the remaining water. Add the peeled garlic cloves and chopped celery and boil until tender, around 15 minutes. Pour the garlic, celery, and boiling water into a blender. Blend until smooth.

After the mushrooms are done soaking, remove from the water, squeezing out and reserving the excess liquid. Bring the water used for soaking to a boil and add barley.

Dice the shitake mushrooms. Add mushrooms, blended celery/garlic liquid, sherry, and soy sauce to the pot with the barley. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat. Simmer covered until the barley is tender, around an hour and a half. You may need to add more liquid as the barley will continue to soak it up.

Serve hot with freshly ground black pepper to taste.