The cover of the Tri-City Herald's Food & Wine section Dec. 10 will feature four inexpensive gifts you can make in your kitchen. Inside you'll find more recipes plus buying, cooking and health tips on a variety of food-related subjects.
Mushroom Barley Soup
Yield: 12 servings
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1 ounce dried porcini or shiitake mushrooms
1 cup boiling water
1/4 cup olive oil
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 or 3 medium onions, finely chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 pounds white mushrooms, trimmed, sliced
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 cup medium-dry Sherry
5 cups sodium-reduced chicken broth
5 cups water
1 cup uncooked pearl barley
8 carrots, peeled, cut diagonally into 1/2-inch thick slices
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crumbled
Salt and ground black pepper
1/3 cup minced fresh Italian parsley
Place dried mushrooms in heatproof boil. Add boiling water and allow to sit for 20 minutes.
Lift dried mushrooms from soaking liquid and transfer to cutting board; reserve liquid. If using skiitakes, discard stems. Thinly slice mushrooms. Pour reserved liquid through a sieve lined with a dampened paper towel into another small bowl.
Heat oil in a 5- or 6-quart heavy pot over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until softened, about 30 seconds. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until pale golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Add white mushrooms, dried mushrooms and soy sauce; cook on medium-high heat, stirring, until most of liquid evaporates, about 10 minutes. Add Sherry and boil until evaporated, about 5 minutes.
Add broth, water, strained mushroom soaking liquid, barley, carrots and dried herbs; bring to boil on high heat. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, 1 hour. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in parsley.
Note: Dried porcini mushrooms are available in 1-ounce packages at most supermarkets - usually in the produce section.
Nutritional information (per serving): Calories 80 (26 percent from fat), protein 1.9 g, carbohydrates 11.7 g, fat 2.3 g (saturated 1.2 g), cholesterol 35 mg, sodium 362 mg, fiber 1.3 g
From: The Gourmet Cookbook edited by Ruth Reichl (Houghton Mifflin, $40).