Mushroom Barley Soup

Source: Photo courtesy of Kikkoman
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Main Ingredient: Mushrooms, Vegetables
Menu Part: Soup
Cuisine Type: American
Serves: 6 servings

Mark Bittman is author of the cookbook "VB6," which advocates eating a vegetarian diet every day until 6 p.m. and vegetable-centric meals in the evening. This flexitarian approach appeals to Americans who are not ready to give up their meat—they can still have a steak or roast chicken for dinner. Bittman’s soup is a classic updated with more exotic mushrooms. 

Ingredients

1 oz. dried porcini mushrooms
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 lb. shiitake, cremini, portobello or button mushrooms, stemmed and sliced or chopped
3 med. carrots, peeled and sliced
1 cup pearled barley
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 bay leaf
3 cups vegetable stock or water
1 to 2 tbsp. soy sauce 

Steps

  1. Soak porcini mushrooms in 3 cups very hot water. When soft, strain through fine-mesh sieve; reserve soaking liquid. Chop porcini coarsely, discarding any hard bits.
  2. Heat olive oil in soup pot over high heat. Add fresh mushrooms and carrots. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables begin to brown. Add barley; cook, stirring frequently, until barley begins to brown. Sprinkle with a little salt and plenty of pepper.
  3. Add porcini; cook, stirring, for about 1 min. Add bay leaf, reserved soaking liquid and stock. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 20 to 30 min. or until barley is very tender. Stir in soy sauce to taste.