The weather fooled me for a while. It was actually in the 60s last weekend. Now it's back to the usual for a January in Connecticut. 19 degrees when I woke up.
That's soup weather. Hearty, nourishing Mushroom Barley soup weather.
My mother-in-law, Pearl Fein, made fabulous Mushroom Barley soup, but I never got her recipe.
Then I saw my friend Liz Rueven's recipe. Liz blogs at www.kosherlikeme.com, but she created her recipe for Mushroom Barley soup for The Nosher, where it was voted one of the Top Ten recipes on the site for 2015.
It inspired me, but I was sans crockpot (mine is somewhere in my basement and I didn't feel like looking for it).
So I thought about what I remember loving in my mother-in-law's soup and what appealed to me about Liz's recipe and I came up with my very own version.
It was awesome. VERY similar to my mother-in-law's, except hers was made with chicken stock, mine with beef stock and water.
Either way, this is going into the "repeat" file.
Mushroom Barley Soup
8 dried shiitake mushrooms
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 pound chuck, cut into small chunks (or use flanken)
2 medium onions, chopped
3 carrots, sliced 1/2-inch thick
3 stalks celery, sliced 1/2-inch thick
1/2 cup chopped fresh dill
3/4 cup pearled barley
4 cups beef or chicken stock
4 cups water, approximately
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Place the mushrooms in a bowl, cover with hot water and soak for 8-10 minutes or until the caps are soft. Remove and discard the hard, inedible stems, if any, chop the caps and set aside. Heat the vegetable oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the meat and cook, turning the pieces occasionally, for 6-8 minutes or until lightly crispy. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 3 minutes, or until softened. Add the carrots, celery, reserved mushrooms, dill and barley and stir briefly. Pour in the stock and water, add salt and pepper to taste. Bring the soup to a simmer. Cook for about 45 minutes. Add more water if you prefer a thinner soup (or if you refrigerate the soup: the barley will absorb the liquid and soup will be very thick).
Make 8 servings