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Mushroom Barley Soup (With Beef Broth)

A hearty dish for the cold weather, this recipe combines dried porcinis with regular mushrooms for a rich flavor.

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Meat
Serves 10–12

½ cup dried porcini mushrooms or similar
2 tablespoons parve margarine + 1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped white onions
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
4 stalks celery with leaves, chopped
3 large carrots, sliced
6–8 parsley sprigs; more to garnish
2 tablespoons flour
2 quarts beef broth, de-fatted
2½ cups barley, rinsed
1½ tablespoons kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste

1) Soak dried mushrooms in 1 quart boiling water for about 30 minutes. Strain through a coffee filter or cheesecloth. Discard woody stems; coarsely chop and reserve the filtered liquid.

2) Melt the margarine and oil in a large stockpot over medium high heat and sauté onions and garlic until soft, about 10 minutes. Add the fresh mushrooms, celery, carrots and parsley sprigs. Cook until the carrots begin to soften, about 10 minutes. Add the flour, stirring until blended. Stir in the mushroom soaking liquid, then the beef broth and 6 cups water. Add the barley, soaked mushrooms, salt and pepper to taste.

3) Heat the soup to boiling, lower heat, cover the pot and simmer about 45 minutes, until barley swells and is tender. Stir occasionally.

4) Adjust seasoning, mix well and add more water if soup is too thick. Flavor improves if refrigerated overnight. Serve hot garnished with parsley leaves. Thin with water if necessary.

Note: Freeze some for a second meal. Freeze 2 cups soup in a 1-quart zip-top bag. Press out air bubbles; lay flat in the freezer to stack several together.

Joan Kekst lives and cooks in Cleveland.

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