Barley soup with miso

Vegetarian matzo ball soup

Makes 5 cups – 4 servings

During my travels to Asia, I came to love miso for its wonderful salty depth, texture, and rich flavor. Marrying it with Riesling’s unique fruity character creates a uniquely flavorful vegetable-barley soup.

1/3 cup barley (either regular or quick-cooking barley)

2 tablespoons canola oil

1 ½ cups finely chopped onion

3 cups sliced cremini mushrooms (about 8 ounces)

2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger

½ cup Riesling or other medium-bodied, high-acid, semi-sweet white wine

3 ½ cups hot water

¼ cup brown miso

2 carrots, finely chopped

½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper, or to taste

Finely chopped scallions, green parts only, for garnish

Cook the barley according to package instructions. (One-third cup uncooked barley yields 1 cup cooked.)

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion; cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and ginger; cook, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low; add the wine. Use a spoon to stir, scraping up the browned juices on the bottom of the pan.

Combine the hot water and miso in a small bowl; whisk until the miso is dissolved. Add to the mushroom mixture. Stir in the carrots and the cooked barley.

Increase the heat to high; when the soup comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer the soup until the carrots are tender, about 8 minutes. Stir in the pepper. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Sprinkle the servings with scallions.