Monday, August 26, 2013

Mushroom Barley Soup

Here's a recipe for mushroom-barley soup that originally called for making stock from scratch. But, it's nearly as good with supermarket stock. You can make it with all vegetable stock for a vegetarian version or use ½ chicken and ½ beef stock.

Half the barley is sautéed before adding it to the soup to keep it chewy. You can skip that step for a softer texture. The dried porcini are a bit pricey but they add a depth of flavor that is unique. For a less expensive and very different flavor, use dried shiitake mushrooms (also sold as Chinese black mushrooms). Still delicious.

Mushroom Barley Soup
(makes 8 servings, costs $10 with porcini, $6.50 with shiitakes)

1 cup pearl barley
4 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
10 cups stock (vegetable or ½ chicken and ½ beef)
1 pound mushrooms, thinly sliced
¾ ounce dried sliced porcini mushrooms, rinsed
2 Tablespoons chopped parsley, about 5 sprigs
salt and pepper to taste

Heat stock in a soup pot to a simmer, just barely boiling. Add ½ cup barley and dried mushrooms. Simmer for about 25 minutes. Heat 2 Tablespoons oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the rest of the barley and sauté until it turns yellow. Add the onion and sauté until soft. Add to broth and simmer for another 25 minutes. In the same skillet you used to cook the barley, heat the rest of the oil and sauté the mushrooms and parsley until the mushrooms soften. Add the mushrooms to the broth and simmer for another 10 minutes. Taste for salt - how much you'll need to add will depend on what kind of stock you used. Add lots of pepper if you like. I like lots! Serve with a crusty bread to soak up every last drop

This soup is even better if chilled and reheated. If it becomes too thick, thin with some water or more stock.

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