at long last, i’m sharing my much-requested recipe for mushroom barley soup. while the actual hands-on time isn’t insane (probably about 20 minutes, if working at full speed), it does require a good 2 hours ++ to cook and that means an open afternoon in our home. with a willing helper. and a willing mama. what i’m saying is, i’m sorry for the delay. but now it is here – rejoice! my recipe is adapted from THE SHIKSA IN THE KITCHEN (what can i say, the name sold me before i even read through the recipe!). my basic changes are to up the veggies (they are finally chopped in the cuisinart – why not have two cups of carrots instead of one?) and add more pepper. WAY more pepper. it’s pretty close (if you ask me) to the soup served at the DAILY GRILL – but that’s coming from a girl who hasn’t ordered said soup in 16 plus years. still, i’ve got a pretty good memory.
RECIPE NIGHT: MUSHROOM BARLEY SOUP
- 12 cups chicken stock – yes, that is a butt ton of stock. i’m pretty sure you could trade out 4 cups of stock for 4 cups of water, but i haven’t tried
- 1 1/4 cups pearl barley
- 2 bay leaves
- 6 dried shitake mushrooms (i use however many are in the package. because really, what are you going to do with 3-4 left over dried shitake mushrooms?)
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1++ cup chopped celery, including leaves
- 1++ cup peeled and chopped carrots
- 2 cloves crushed garlic
- 1 lb white mushrooms, scrubbed and sliced
- Salt and pepper (i’d go easy on the salt (unless you are using low sodium stock, and a bit heavier on the pepper. this is a thick soup and it can take the extra bite).
1st things 1st, you are going to need to enlist a super cute helper:
one of the crazier things that i’ve noticed since she started pre-school is that she now says things and does things that i didn’t teach her. for example, she referred to a scratch on her leg as a “boo-boo” when, in this house, we’ve always talked about “owies”. last night when i asked if she wanted to cook dinner she said she could be my “helper.” not complaining, just a bit overwhelmed. she’s looking and acting quite grown up these days. and yes, i know she looks EXACTLY like her father. moving on…
this was a great recipe to do with EBN because at the beginning there were a lot of tasks that she could take care of (and towards the end, when she got bored she could go play while i attended to the stove). we started by pouring all 12 cups of broth into our biggest stock pot and bringing it to a boil. then add the barley and the bay leaves. it’s important that you remember to set your timer for 2 hours and 15 minutes just as soon as that barley goes in…otherwise…well, i’m not really one for multi-tasking these days.
while all this is happening (so yeah, a little multi-tasking), place your dried SHITAKE mushrooms in a separate sauce pan and add 3 cups of water. bring water to a boil, then remove from heat and let the mushrooms soak for 20 minutes (you gotta set another timer).
using some sort of strainer, separate your mushrooms and reserve your mushroom-y water. chop up your no-longer-dried- mushrooms, and set aside.
heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a pan and add chopped onions. we chopped our onion in a the cuisinart, which was quick and relatively painless. well, painless for some:
poor thing, but early exposure to chopped onions is probably best.
cook your onions until they are are softened. then add chopped celery and carrots and cook until everything is carmelized (about 5 more minutes). at this point, things should be smelling yum-my! add the garlic and the chopped re-hydrated mushrooms and cook for another 2 minutes.
get to scraping all the yummy bits from the bottom of your pan, then add the mushroom-y water that your reserved before. bring to a nice boil and then add all the contents to your soup pot.
in the same pan, heat a bit of olive oil (if needed) and place HALF of your sliced WHITE mushrooms, so that they are in a single layer. sprinkle with salt and pepper and then let them sear without mixing them. once the mushrooms have a nice color, mix away for another 2 minutes (the mushrooms should shrink up to about half their original size) and then add them to the soup. repeat with the remaining mushrooms.
now begins the waiting period. time to do your dishes, kick up your heels and play a few rounds of chutes and ladders. once your timer dings, serve into bowls. we were lucky enough to have some leftover challah (another pre-school perk!) which was the perfect accompaniment to sop up any remaining soup at the bottom of the bowl.
this soup hits the spot. and if you add the extra veggies as suggested, it is easily 8 servings but probably more like 10. for some reason i always seem to decide to make soup on 80 degree days but i can’t wait to enjoy this soup again once the weather changes.