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Mushroom, Squash and Barley Soup

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1 tablespoon olive oil
2 medium onions; chopped
3 cloves garlic; minced
1 pound mushrooms; sliced (approx. 6 cups)
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
6 cups reduced sodium chicken or vegetable broth; de-fatted
1/2 butternut squash; peeled and diced (approx. 1 1/2 cups)
1 red bell pepper; diced
1 cup quick-cooking barley
1/2 medium-dry sherry
non-alcohol sherry or apple juice for substitution
4 tablespoons fresh dill; chopped
1/3 cup reduced fat sour cream or non-fat plain yogurt (optional)

Heat oil in a Dutch oven or large pot over medium heat. Lightly sauté onions and garlic, stirring until softened for about 5-minutes. Increase heat to high and add mushrooms. Cook mushrooms, stirring often, until browned and liquid has evaporated, approximately 7-minutes more.

Reduce heat to medium and sprinkle flour over vegetables. Continue to cook, stirring constantly until the flour is mixed through, about 1-minute. Add broth, squash, bell pepper, barley and sherry. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Continue to cook, partially covered, until barley is tender, about 15 to 20-minutes. Add half the fresh dill and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Ladle soup into serving bowls and garnish with sour cream or yogurt if desired, and sprinkle each portion with the remaining 2 tablespoons. fresh dill.

Makes 6 servings

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