I can’t feel my toes. My dry skin in peeling off in flakes. My California glow is long gone and I am a pale, sickly New Yorker. If I’m not sick now, chances are I will be in the next 6 hours by interacting with thousands of people I’ll never see again. But enough complaining, let’s make some soup!
They say necessity is the mother of invention and that is so often true in my kitchen. I only had one 4 cup carton of vegetable broth on hand so I developed the method below to double that quantity.
By adding the bits and ends of the soup vegetables to store bought broth cut with water, I ended up with 8 cups of delicious (partially homemade) vegetable broth.
One of these days I’m going to order a 12 pack of chicken and vegetable broth to be delivered to my apartment. I always try to stock up on broth at the supermarket but the cartons and cans are too heavy to lug home!
Mushroom Barley Soup
Serves about 6
You will need:
2 large fat carrots (or 4 skinny ones)
3 stalks celery
2 Tablespoons butter
4 cups store bought vegetable broth
1 cup dried barley
4 cups + 2 1/2 cups water
0.5 oz. dried porcini mushrooms (a small hand-full)
6 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped fresh mushrooms
1 small yellow onion
5 fresh dill sprigs (must be fresh, not dried)
1.In a large pot, combine the vegetable broth, ½ of the garlic (3 cloves chopped) and 4 cups of water. Do not heat.
2. Prepare the soup vegetables. Peel and chop the carrots into small 1/4 inch chunks. Reserve 2 inches of the ends to add to the broth. Chop the white section of the leek and add the green stalk to the broth. Finely chop one stalk of celery and roughly chop the rest to add to the broth. Chop half the onion into small pieces and add the rest to the broth. Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt to the broth and bring the whole pot to a boil. This will take about 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes. Strain out the vegetables and discard. Remove the pot from the heat and set aside.
3. Meanwhile, bring the barley and 2 1/2 cups water to a boil in a small sauce pan with a lid. Once it boils, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 35 minutes. Turn off the flame and fluff with a fork.
4. In a heavy-bottomed soup pot or Dutch oven, heat the butter over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and remaining garlic and cook for 3 minutes. Then add the celery and carrots and cook for 3 more minutes. Add the mushrooms and leeks last and cook for an additional 3 minutes, stirring consistently with a wooden spoon. Add a splash of olive oil if the vegetables stick to the bottom of the pot.
5. Pour the vegetable broth over the cooking vegetables and add the porcini mushrooms. Turn up the flame to medium-high and bring to a boil (about 10 minutes), then turn the flame down to a simmer, cover and cook for 30 minutes.
6. To serve, place 1/2 cup of barley in each bowl and ladle about 1 1/2 cups of soup on top. Generously sprinkle fresh dill on top. Add salt and pepper to taste.