Wash 1/2 lb. baby greens - choose from braising mix, arugula (which we have lots of right now - and used for this particular batch of the soup), beet greens, or chard - and coarsely chop.
Peel and mince 6 cloves garlic. Peel and dice 1 medium onion.
Wash 1/2 cup rice or wild rice or barley.
In a large saucepan, heat 1 TB olive oil over medium high heat. When the oil ripples, add the onion and sauté for 3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium low, cover, and sweat the onions (beads of moisture rise up on them), stirring every 2 minutes, for about 10 minutes, or until caramelize. Add minced garlic, 8 cups water, 1/2 tsp. dried oregano, a pinch of ground fennel or anise (optional), 1/4-1/2 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper, and 1 1/2 tsp. salt. Bring to a boil. Add rice or barley. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 15-25 minutes, until rice or barley is chewable. (Some types of rice or barley take longer to cook, especially if they have sat on the shelf a while). Once the rice or barley is done, stir in 1/2 TB balsamic vinegar. Taste the soup and adjust seasonings. Finally, add the greens and simmer 1-2 minutes until they are wilted and bright green. Enjoy!