C – When I attend a meditation retreat, the mushroom-barley soup they serve us is one of my favorite soups.
It’s an amazing soup. It’s the first soup they serve you. It always feels like a gateway drug that makes you want to stay. This soup isn’t their mushroom-barley soup. It’s nothing like it. I think it’s better.
I am really amazed this mushroom-barley soup could be even better than the one at the meditation center.
I know the reason why my meditation center wouldn’t serve this mushroom-barley soup. It has some wine in it.
It also has a lot of very expensive mushrooms. Not many people would serve porcini and shiitake mushrooms in a simple soup like this. But, it’s so worth it when you do.
It’s delicious. It’s worth every penny. It’s one of those soups to make to impress a vegetarian friend. They won’t know what hit them.
Jim and I both agreed this soup had a perfect balance of flavors. There was a great sweet quality from all the vegetables. I loved the savory quality, also. I think it was the best part.
The mushrooms and herbs really gave it a great umami taste. It’s one of those dishes I really didn’t want to end.
I also loved all the great textures in the soup. I love that there wasn’t too much barley. Cheap soups always put in too much barley to save money.
Yup, this is not a cheap soup. The perfectly cooked barley was a nice surprise.
The mushrooms were nice and hearty. They almost made it feel like there was some meat in it.
|Vegetarian Soup and Stew Week: Mushroom-Barley Soup|
- 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 1 leek top (green part), chopped and washed
- 4 cloves garlic, in their skin, crushed
- 1 ounce dried shiitake mushrooms
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp peppercorns
- ½ pound white mushrooms, sliced
- 2 small carrots, chopped
- 6 sprigs parsley, coarsely chopped
- 3 fresh thyme sprigs
- 2 fresh marjoram or oregano sprigs
- 2 fresh sage leaves
- 2 bay leaves
- 9 cups cold water
- 6½ cups mushroom stock
- ½ ounce dried porcini mushrooms, soaked in ½ cup warm water for about 10 minutes
- 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 medium-sized yellow onion, diced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- ½ cup dry red wine
- ¾ cup carrots, diced
- ¾ cup celery, diced
- ⅓ cup pearl barley
- 1 bay leaf
- 1½ pound white mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 1½ Tbsp olive oil
- Soy sauce to taste
- 1 Tbsp parsley, chopped
- 1 Tbsp thyme, chopped
- 1 Tbsp marjoram, chopped
- 1 Tbsp, sage chopped
- In a large pot, pour just enough water to start the onions cooking.
- Add the onion, leek top, garlic, shiitake mushrooms and salt.
- Give the vegetables a stir. Cover the pot and cook gently for 15 minutes over medium heat.
- Add the remaining ingredients and cover with 9 cups of cold water.
- Bring the stock to a boil, then simmer, uncovered for 1 hour.
- Pour stock through a strainer, pressing as much liquid as you can from the vegetables. Discard vegetables.
- Make the stock, strain it and keep warm over low heat.
- Pour the porcini through a fine strainer and save the liquid to use later. Finely chop the porcini, discard any pieces that are gritty or hard. Set aside.
- Heat butter in a pot and add the onions, ½ teaspoon salt and a pinch of pepper. Cook until softened. About 5 to 7 minutes.
- Add the porcini mushrooms and half of the garlic. Saute for 2 minutes.
- Add ¼ cup wine and the porcini liquid. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until the pan is nearly dry.
- Add carrots, celery, barley, bay leaf and 4 cups of stock.
- Bring to a boil, cover the pot and cook over medium heat for 30 to 40 minutes, until barley is tender.
- While the soup is cooking, sear the white mushrooms in a saute pan. Work in batches to assure browning. For each batch, place ½ tablespoon of oil in the pan over high heat and add half of the mushrooms. Add ¼ teaspoon salt and some pepper. Let the mushroom liquid just evaporate and let the mushrooms stick to the pan. Don’t stir them until they get golden brown.
- Once golden brown stir for 1 to 2 minutes and add ½ the garlic.
- Add a splash of soy sauce, 2 tablespoons red wine and some stock to deglaze the pan.
- Add the first pan of mushrooms to the soup pot and repeat with the second batch.
- Once the mushrooms have been added to the soup, add 2 cups stock and fresh herbs. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
The broth took a while to make. It was really worth the extra effort. The liquid was nice and silky. It was rich with wonderful flavors.
I am so glad we made a lot of this soup. It’s so good.
Adapted from: “Fields of Greens: New Vegetarian Recipes From the Celebrated Greens Restaurant” By Annie Somerville