Mushroom Barley Soup
Adapted from Epicurious.com. Serves 8.
1/3 cup pearled barley, soaked 6 hrs. in cold water
1/4 oz dried porcini (1/4 cup)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 large onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 parsnips, peeled and choppped
2 carrots, chopped
1/2 lb fresh oyster mushrooms thinly sliced, or shiitakes-stems discarded and caps thinly sliced
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup medium-dry Sherry
3 cups low-salt beef or rich vegetable stock
soy sauce to taste
chopped fresh parsley
Simmer barley in 3 1/2 cups water in a 5- to 6-quart heavy pot, uncovered, until almost tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain in a colander. While barley is cooking, soak porcini in 1/2 cup water in a small bowl until softened, about 20 minutes. Drain in a sieve lined with a dampened paper towel set over a bowl, reserving liquid. Rinse porcini to remove any grit, then coarsely chop.
Heat oil in cleaned pot over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sautÃ© onion and garlic, stirring occasionally, until golden, 6 to 8 minutes. Add carrots, parsnips, shiitakes, porcini, salt and pepper and sautÃ©, stirring frequently, until liquid mushrooms give off is evaporated and mushrooms are golden, 4 to 6 minutes.
Stir in tomato paste, bay leaf, sherry, stock, mushroom soaking liquid, barley, salt and pepper. If soup looks too thick, add a cup or so of water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until vegetables and barley are tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt, pepper and soy sauce. Garnish with chopped parsley.