This is a deliciously earthy, satisfyingly comforting, and hearty mushroom barley soup. I love it.
Mushroom Barley Soup
1/2 cup dried mushrooms, such as porcini or shiitake
1 cup hot water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 medium carrot, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 pound white mushrooms, washed, trimmed, and coarsely chopped
1/2 pound shiitake, cremini, portobella, or other mushrooms, washed, trimmed, and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup pearled barley
8 cups vegetable broth
salt and black pepper
Place the dried mushrooms in a small bowl and cover with the hot water. Set aside for 20 minutes. Drain, reserving the liquid, remove stems, and finely chop the mushrooms.
Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed pot. Saute the onion and carrot in the oil over medium heat until the onion begins to color. Add the garlic and saute for 30 seconds. Add the fresh mushrooms and saute for about 5 minutes, until the mushrooms soften and begin to release their liquid.
Raise the heat to medium-high, add the barley, and saute until it begins to color slightly. Add the broth, mushroom soaking liquid, and reconstituted mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper and simmer for about 40 minutes, until the barley is tender.
This soup can be refrigerated for up to 3 days and frozen for a month.Reheat to serve.