Mushroom Barley Soup

This recipe is from the Daily Soup in New York City. I’ve only made it a couple times and found it to be a pain in the ass to make. I haven’t yet found any modifications to make it easier or awesomer. Mostly, I’m listing it here so I remember to play with this recipe in the future.

4 tbsp olive oil
2-1/2 lbs mushrooms (any mix of button, cremini, shiitaki, oyster, chanterelles, black trumpet)
— stems removed and reserved
— caps sliced
10 cups water
1/2 cup white port or white wine
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 tsp dried thyme leaves
2 bay leaves
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 cup uncooked pearl barley
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp minced fresh garlic

1. Heat 2 tbsp of the olive oil in a large stock pot over medium heat. Add the mushroom stems and a couple caps, and sweat them for 5 minutes, until tender and releasing juice.

2. Add the water and port. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat, partially cover, and simmer for 20 minutes. Strain the stock through a sieve to remove the solids, reserving 8 cups of liquid. Set aside the stock.

3. Place pot over medium heat and heat the remaining 2 tbsp olive oil. Add the onion, celery, and carrots, and sweat for 4 minutes, until tender.

4. Add the thyme, bay leaves, salt, and pepper, and stir to coat the vegetables.

5. Add the mushroom caps and saute for 5 minutes, until tender.

6. Add the mushroom stock and pearl barley. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 1 hour.

7. Remove from heat. Add parsley, vinegar, and garlic.

8. Remove bay leaves and serve.