Barley and Wild Mushroom Soup
Slice the mushrooms, removing the stems and reserving them. Chop the onion, celery, and carrots.
In a large soup pot, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add all the mushroom stems and a few of the sliced mushroom caps. Cover on low heat and cook for 5 minutes, until they begin to release juice. Add the broth and wine. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 20 minutes.
Strain the liquid from the soup pot into another container, reserving 8 cups and discarding the rest. Set aside. Heat the remaining oil in the soup pot on medium heat. Add the onions, celery, and carrots, and cook for 4 minutes. Stir in the thyme, bay leaf, and pepper, coating the vegetables. Add the remaining mushroom caps and sauté for 5 minutes. Pour in the reserved broth and add the barley. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer; cook for 1 hour, covered.
Chop the parsley and mince the garlic. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the balsamic vinegar, parsley, and garlic. Remove the bay leaf, and serve.
For a heartier taste, you can use a dry red wine in place of a bottle of the white wine.