Mushroom Barley Soup
7 cups chicken or vegetable stock, divided
1 ounce dried porcini or morel mushrooms
½ cup pearl barley
2 tablespoons butter or mild vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 ribs celery with leaves, chopped
2 carrots, sliced
1 parsnip, sliced
1-3 teaspoons soy sauce
8 ounces fresh white mushrooms, sliced
1½ cups medium dry white wine
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2-4 tablespoons fresh dill
2 bay leaves
½ teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and pepper to taste
In a small pot, bring 1 cup of the stock to a boil. Put the dried mushrooms in a bowl and pour the hot stock over them. Weight them down with a plate so they stay submerged and let them soak for at least 1 hour.
Meanwhile, precook the barley by bringing it to a boil with 1 more cup of the stock. Turn down the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer slowly for 25 minutes, until the barley is somewhat tender and the liquid is absorbed.
Meanwhile, in a heavy 10-inch skillet, melt the butter or heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until softened. Add the celery, carrots and parsnip and cook another 3 minutes, stirring. Add the soy sauce, lower the heat and cook another 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Scrape the sauté into a large soup pot. Deglaze the skillet with a little of the remaining stock, scraping up the browned bits and adding the pan contents to the soup pot.
Add the remaining stock, partially cooked barley, fresh mushrooms, wine, tomato paste, dill, bay leaves, basil, thyme and oregano to the pot. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook for about 1 hour.
Toward the end of the hour, remove the dried mushrooms from the soaking liquid, reserving both the liquid and the mushrooms. Rinse the mushrooms to rid of any remaining grit. Cut them into small dice and add to the simmering soup. Strain the mushroom soaking liquid through a fine-mesh strainer and add to the soup. Season with salt and pepper.
"Dairy Hollow House Soup & Bread: A Country Inn Cookbook" by Crescent Dragonwagon and Paul Hoffman (Workman, 1992)