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Broccoli Barley Soup

3 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 medium onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1/4 pound mushrooms, sliced
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary
6 cups vegetable stock
3/4 cup pearl barley
1 pound broccoli
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup water
2 cups milk
salt and pepper
about 1/3 cup grated Parmesan Cheese, optional

In a 5-quart pan over medium-high heat, melt butter. Add onions,
garlic, and mushrooms. Cook, stirring frequently, until onion is
soft (about 5 minutes). Add rosemary, stock, and barley and bring
to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer until barley is tender
(about 45 minutes).

Meanwhile, remove broccoli flowerets and cut into bite-size pieces.
Peel stems and thinly slice. When barley is tender, increase heat
and add broccoli stems and pieces. Cook, covered, until broccoli
is just tender and still bright green ( about 10 minutes).

In a small bowl, stir together cornstarch and water. Add to soup
along with milk and cook, stirring, until soup boils and thickens.
Add salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle each serving lightly with
Parmesan cheese. Makes six 1 2/3-cup servings.


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