Barley is one of those grains that your grandmother probably always had in her pantry. And like many other treasures tucked away on those shelves, barley is chic now and a star ingredient on many trendy restaurant menus.

With this modernized recipe, we’re adding barley to a pot of vegetarian soup along with both dried and fresh mushrooms, and seasoning it with a surprising combination of soy sauce and balsamic vinegar.

The bowls of soup have a satisfying saltiness and an alluring sweetness—it’s an entirely new take on traditional mushroom barley soup.

 

Mushrooms and barley are an old pairing, popular in dishes around the world wherever mushroom foragers lived. For centuries, Eastern European cooks made versions of this soup as soon as the weather got cold—a simmering pot was on the menu pretty much all winter.