October 11, 2010

Shiitake mushroom and barley soup

This soup was inspired by an early, cool Saturday morning trip to the farmer's market. The farmer who grows and sells shiitake mushrooms was giving out samples of a hot and delicious shiitake and barley soup. I tasted a sample and bought some mushrooms feeling pretty confident that I would be able to replicate the soup at home. So when I got home I got to work on making the soup. The soup is really simple in ingredients and is very filling with the barley. It was easy to make and a comforting to eat on a cool autumn day. I think I got the recipe pretty close to the farmer's -- both were delicious.

Shiitake mushroom and barley soup
about 1.5 to 2 cups shiitake mushroom caps, chopped
1 large carrot, diced
1 celery rib, diced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, diced
3-4 sprigs fresh thyme
sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
3-4 cups water
3-4 cups mushroom stock (or vegetable stock)
1 cup barley 
extra virgin olive oil, for cooking
fresh parsley, minced, optional
fresh grated Parmesan cheese, optional

In a large soup/stock pot, warm olive oil over medium heat. Add the carrot, celery, garlic, and onion. Add some salt and pepper. Stir occasionally and cook until the vegetables begin to soften. Add the stock and water (start with about 3 cups of each*). Put a lid on the pot and continue to heat until the liquid comes to a boil.

When the liquid comes to a boil, add the barley and stir. Add the leaves of the thyme and the mushroom caps. Reduce the heat to simmer, cover, and cook for about 45 minutes to one hour, or until the barley softens. Taste for salt and pepper and add more, if needed. Serve in bowls and top with fresh parsley and some Parmesan cheese, of desired. 

*The barley will continue to expand and absorb liquid, especially if you have leftovers. Add more stock and/or water if needed to keep the soup thin enough for you.

1 comment:

  1. You are pretty amazing - just tasting it and go home and make it. Did you save me some? XO


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