I spent the last week and a half in France, visiting my Russian family and got to enjoy some memorable dishes from my childhood. One of my favourites is Mushroom Barley Soup. This particular soup is a rare treat for me. It is so delicious and aromatic and has a wonderful texture.
The recipe uses dried porcini mushrooms and does not require pureeing. The smell of the soup is incredible! The mushrooms are highly aromatic and their flavour really comes through in this soup. I love the texture of these mushrooms, paired with barley. To add thickness to the soup, potatoes are cooked in the broth then mashed, creating a thicker texture.
Reconstituted Porcini Mushrooms
Adding a dollop of sour cream to your bowl will lighten the colour of the soup and give it a slightly tangy flavour. I prefer to eat it this way, however, you can leave it out.
If you enjoy mushroom soup, you need to give this recipe a try!
*Note: Dried porcini mushrooms contain a lot of sand, since they are harvested wild in forests. These mushrooms need to be well cleaned. It can be a bit of a lengthy process, but it’s worth it.
Sand and debris left at the bottom of the pot.
Mushroom Barley Soup Recipe
- 4 to 5 packages of dry porcini mushrooms – 25-30g each (*I used 3 packages of porcini, 1 package of chanterelle and 1 package of lobster mushrooms – you can use less mushrooms, if you prefer)
- 1 large sweet onion, chopped
- 1 cup grated carrots
- 4 large potatoes, peeled
- 1/2 cup rinsed pearl barley
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 cup parsley, chopped
- 2 tbsp grape seed or olive oil
- 1 tbsp butter
- salt & pepper, to taste
- optional: sour cream
Place all dried mushrooms in a large bowl and cover with warm water. Leave to reconstitute for at least 1 hour. (*you will immediately begin to smell the aroma of these mushrooms; this is when my mouth starts to water and I can’t wait to taste this soup!)
Strain the mushrooms from the liquid, then reserve all the liquid. (*except for the very bottom of the pot)
Slice any large mushrooms and look each one over for dirt and debris; rinse any dirty mushrooms, then place all into a small pot.
Cover the mushrooms with water and cook for 5 minutes, to soften them slightly.
Strain mushrooms for a second time and put them aside in a bowl; add this liquid to the original reserved liquid
Filter out all reserved mushroom liquid, for any sand or other debris and pour clear liquid into a large soup pot.
Add pearl barley to the pot, then place pot on the stove.
After bringing the mushroom liquid to a boil, add whole potatoes, grated carrots and bay leaves, then cook over medium heat.
In the meantime, heat oil and butter in a large frying pan until butter melts, then saute the onions.
Once the onions have softened slightly, add in the strained mushrooms and continue to saute; by sautéing the mushrooms, their flavour and aroma is released
Season mushroom mixture with salt and pepper and add it to the pot after the mushrooms have softened.
Scrape off browned mushroom bits from the pan, using a few spoons of the broth, then pour this into soup pot.
Feel free to add boiled water to the pot, if you would like a more liquid soup.
When potatoes are cooked, mash them in the pot, using a potato masher.
Continue to cook the soup until the pearl barley is soft and ready.
Season soup with salt and or pepper, if needed.
Add chopped parsley to the pot and cook for a few more minutes.
When serving, top each bowl with a spoonful of sour cream.
Mushroom barley soup served with a dollop of sour cream.
Serve with sliced baguette or rye bread.
I hope you enjoy this soup as much as I do!
Happy eating and gardening!