I read a bunch of the reviews before starting to cook, and I also made a few small changes of my own, noted in italics below.
- Nonstick vegetable oil spray
- 4 large plum tomatoes (about 1 1/4 pounds), halved lengthwise (My store didn't have them, so I used 4 vine ripened tomatoes, quartered)
- 3 medium carrots, trimmed, peeled, quartered (about 8 ounces)
- 6 ounces fresh crimini mushrooms, thickly sliced
- 1 large onion, cut into 1-inch wedges through root end
- 1 red bell pepper, quartered
- Added: 1 small yellow pepper - trying to use up what I had in the fridge
- 1 medium zucchini, trimmed, halved lengthwise
- 3 garlic cloves, unpeeled
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 8 cups (or more) canned vegetable broth (This soup is very thick so I ended up using 7 14.5 oz cans of vegetable broth - otherwise I would have had stew! I started with 5 cans, added 1 can when I cooked the barley, and added another can when I added the pureed and chopped veggies)
- 1 1/2-ounce package dried porcini mushrooms, broken into pieces
- 3 large fresh thyme sprigs (I used approximately 1 tsp dried thyme)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup pearl barley (the reviews talked about the thickness of the soup so I only used 3/4 c barley)
- Chopped fresh parsley
- Added: 1/3 c dry red wine
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Spray large rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray. Arrange tomatoes, carrots, crimini mushrooms, onion, peppers, zucchini, and garlic on tray. Drizzle with oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Look at this tray of beautiful veggies -
- Roast until vegetables are tender and brown around edges, stirring occasionally, about 55 minutes.
- Peel garlic and reserve. Coarsely chop half of vegetables and set aside.
- Transfer garlic and remaining vegetables from sheet to large pot (reserve sheet).
- Deglaze sheet: Add 1/2 cup vegetable broth (I used red wine instead) to baking sheet and scrape up browned bits; add to pot with vegetables.
- Add broth, dried porcini, thyme, and bay leaf to pot. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium; cover and simmer until vegetables and porcini are very tender, about 20 minutes.
- Pour vegetables and broth into large strainer set over bowl. Transfer vegetables in strainer to processor and puree until smooth; set aside. Instead of pouring the entire pot of soup through a strainer, I simply used a slotted spoon and transferred the vegetables to my food processor in batches. The first batch turned a very ugly brown color, so with my next batch, I removed the porcini and crimini mushrooms and finely chopped them instead of pureeing. I added them to the reserved bowl of chopped vegetables.
- Return broth and bay leaf to pot; add barley and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium; cover and simmer until barley is tender, about 40 minutes.
- Add reserved vegetable puree and chopped vegetables to pot; simmer until soup thickens and flavors blend, about 10 minutes. Season soup to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cool soup slightly. Chill soup uncovered until cold, then cover and keep chilled. Rewarm over medium heat, thinning with additional broth if desired before serving.)
- Ladle soup into bowls. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.
From start to finish, this soup took 3 hours to make, but the result was well worth it. The roasted veggies give the soup so much flavor and depth, and I think deglazing the sheet with red wine instead of broth helped as well. It is a very hearty soup, and would even be good with some beef in it. Unlike that episode of Senifeld, this soup IS a meal.