Recipe adapted from several sources, most notably one posted on rec.food.recipes by Strawberry Girl, but uses far less barley than all of them - this is a nice, light broth with bits in rather than a hearty stew. Pre-cooking the barley allows you to keep the soup in the fridge (and even the freezer) without the barley absorbing all the liquid as it sits.
1. Cook the barley in simmering water until very tender - about 45 minutes. Drain if necessary.
2. Dry-fry the onions in a non-stick frying pan for around 5 minutes until starting to soften. Add the garlic and mushrooms and mix well. Cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until everything is very tender - about 20 minutes.
3. Put the cooked barley in a saucepan with the mushroom mixture and add the soy sauce and sherry along with the water. Grind in plenty of black pepper - it can take more than you think - and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, for another 20 minutes or so over very low heat, to blend the flavours. You shouldn't need to add more water as very little of it should evaporate.
Kake's (Vegan) Cookery Site - http://www.earth.li/~kake/cookery/
This page added 8 May 2000 - comments and questions to Kake L Pugh (firstname.lastname@example.org).