Is it Soup Yet? Remember that commercial? It was years ago and I think it was for Campbell's. My mom used to make a homemade mushroom and barley soup that I absolutely adored- chock full of veggies and flavor. And when she prepared it, the aromas wafting through the house always reminded me of that commercial, because I couldn't wait to sit down and enjoy that steaming bowl of goodness. Unfortunately I never got her original recipe, but have done my best to recreate it.
In medium size pot cook barley according to package directions (usually about 45 minutes). While barley is cooking, begin the soup prep.
In large soup pot on low heat, add olive oil, chopped carrots, onions, celery, garlic and Old Bay Seasoning. Cover and sweat the veggies until soft (8 minutes or so) stirring occasionally. When vegetables are soft, add the chicken broth and water, bring to a boil and add split peas. Bring back to a boil, lower heat and low simmer covered for 45 minutes.
Add salt, pepper and mushrooms and simmer another 20 minutes more. Add cooked barley, stir and serve. I like to top the soup with a slice of grilled, rosemary-infused Italian bread, but even store-bought croutons are great.