Friday, September 05, 2008

Mushroom & Barley Soup

Mushroom & Barley Soup
From Joan Nathan’s Jewish Cooking in America

Hands-on time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 90 minutes or longer (the barley should be soft but still holding its shape)
Serves 6-8

2-4 tbsp dried porcini mushrooms
2 tbsp butter or margarine
1 large onion, chopped
3 large cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup parsley, coarsely chopped
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1lb/40g fresh mushrooms (I like a combination of cremini, porcini, shitake, Portobello), sliced or chopped – it’s up to you texture wise
1 tbsp flour
2qts/2litres beef broth (vegetable broth works too)
1 cup whole barley
2-3 sprigs fresh thyme
Salt & pepper

1. Soak the dried mushrooms in enough hot water to cover for at least 30 minutes. Strain through a filter and reserve the soaking liquid. Coarsely chop the mushrooms.

2. Melt the butter or margarine in a large Dutch oven over medium heat and sauté the onion, parsley, carrot, garlic, thyme and fresh mushrooms until soft (about 5 minutes or so).

3. Lower the heat and add the flour, stirring every 30 seconds or so for 5 minutes or until all the cooking liquid from the vegetables has been absorbed.

4. Joan actually does the heating of the broth in a separate pot, but I just added the room temperature broth to the vegetables, stirring as I poured to absorb all the thickening. At this point turn the heat to high and bring to a boil, adding the reserved reconstituted mushrooms and their soaking liquid as well as the barley. Stir well and taste for seasoning.

5. Simmer for about 1 hour or until the barley is tender and the soup has thickened somewhat. Taste for seasoning, garnish with fresh parsley and a squirt of lemon juice.

Great as a midweek supper with salad and crusty bread.

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