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Barley and Porcini Mushroom Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces dried porcini mushrooms, soaked in 2 cups lukewarm water
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup finely minced yellow onion
  • 1/2 cup finely minced celery
  • 1/2 cup finely minced carrot
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 pound speck or prosciutto cut in 1 thick slice and diced
  • 1-1/2 cups (about 3/4 pound) pearly barley, picked over
  • 2 to 2/1/2 quarts water
  • Salt and freshly gound black pepper to taste
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  1. Drain the porcini mushrooms and mince: set aside
  2. Reserve 1 cup of the soaking water
  3. Heat the butter and oil in aa large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, carrot, and parsley and cook, stirring, until vegetables are soft, 6 to 7 minutes. Add the speck or prosciutto and the porcini mushrooms, and stir for a few minutes. Add the reserved mushroom water and bring to a boil. Season with salt and pepper, reduce the heat to low, and partially cover the pot. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until barley is tender, about 1 hour. Taste, adjust the seasoning, and turn the heat off under the pot
  4. Let the soup rest 20 to 30 minutes
  5. Ladle the soup into individual bowls, sprinkle with grated cheese and serve
  6. When preparing ahead, say several hours, please remember that barley absorbs liquid and becomes so thick you could almost eat it with a fork
  7. As you reheat the soup, simply add more water or broth to give it the consistency you like

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