Mushroom Barley Soup
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.
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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.