Yakityak's Mushroom Barley Soup (Crockpot)

In a large pan, saute the carrots on medium-high heat in the olive oil for 6 - 7 minutes or until a few of them begin to turn brown around the edges. Add in the chopped onion and saute for another 3 - 4 minutes. Add in the celery and saute until the celery just begins to soften and clarify, around 3 - 5 minutes. Carrots and onion should have some carmelization. Place this mixture in the crockpot.

Deglaze the pan with some of the soup, and then saute the mushrooms in this deglazed mixture until softened. Reserve the liquid in the pan and remove the mushrooms to the crockpot.

Saute the diced potato in the liquid for 5 minutes or until it just begins the cooking process. Remove the thickened liquid and potato to the crockpot. If a great deal of potato starch remains in the pan, dissolve in more of the boxed soup and pour it into the crockpot.

Add the remaining boxed soup and ingredients except the cilantro to the crockpot, and fill the remaining volume with water to an inch below the top. (This is assuming a large 6 quart crockpot.) Stir well. Cook on low for 6 - 8 hours. Taste for salt content before serving, and garnish with a generous pinch of the chopped fresh cilantro.

Serves 8 generously.

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