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We've updated the classic soup with whole-grain barley, whose hearty chew is a tasty addition. Pearl barley may be quick-cooking, but it's not whole grain; choose whole-grain barley here, sometimes labeled "hulled barley" and often found in the bulk foods section.

Recipe by Cooking Light November 2014


Credit: Ryan Liebe; Styling: Mary Clayton Carl

Recipe Summary test

18 mins
1 hr 25 mins
Serves 6


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Bring 6 cups water and barley to a boil in a large saucepan; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1 hour or until done. Drain.

  • While barley cooks, heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onions; cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt and garlic; reduce heat to medium-low, and cook 45 minutes or until onions are caramelized and very tender, stirring occasionally.

  • Increase heat to medium-high. Add sherry; cook 2 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates. Stir in stock, pepper, thyme sprigs, and bay leaf; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes. Discard thyme sprigs and bay leaf. Stir in barley, thyme leaves, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt.

  • Preheat broiler to high.

  • Arrange bread in a single layer on a baking sheet; broil 30 seconds on each side or until toasted. Ladle 1 1/3 cups soup into each of 6 ovenproof bowls. Arrange 3 toast pieces in each bowl; divide cheeses evenly over toasts. Place bowls on baking sheet. Broil 2 minutes or until cheese melts and begins to brown.

Nutrition Facts

380 calories; fat 11.7g; saturated fat 4.2g; mono fat 4.9g; poly fat 2g; protein 16g; carbohydrates 51g; fiber 9g; cholesterol 22mg; iron 2mg; sodium 590mg; calcium 279mg.