Winter Harvest Soup
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 acorn squash
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups mixed mushrooms, cleaned and roughly chopped
1 bunch kale, thinly sliced
3 cups pearl barley, washed and sorted
6 cups vegetable stock
2 tablespoons soy sauce
Salt and black pepper to taste
Cut the squash in half, rub the flesh with a little olive oil, and salt lightly. Place both sides flesh-side down on a baking sheet and bake at 425°F (no need to preheat oven) until flesh is soft but still firm, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and stir constantly for 1 minute. Add the mushrooms and sauté until they begin to release their moisture, then stir in the kale and barley. Season liberally with salt, add the stock, cover and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer and cook until barley is tender but still a bit chewy, 20 minutes or more.
When the squash is tender but still firm, remove from oven. Score the flesh with a sharp knife and scoop it out with a spoon. Add to the soup just as the barley is about done. Stir in soy sauce, season with salt and pepper, and serve.