One of the things that makes winter great is that there are so many one-pot dinners and so many soups to make! I love when clean up is just a pot and a cutting board.
This soup is essentially a variation on Mark Bittman’s Mushroom Barley Soup from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. Take out the escarole, thyme, and celery, and you’ve got his original soup, which is perfectly lovely, but I wanted a one pot meal so I added in the green vegetable. Escarole, a green that looks a lot like a head of lettuce but can stand up to cooking, is a perfect match for the earthy mushroom soup; it’s slightly bitter and quick cooking. You could also use a bunch of kale, spinach, collards, or any other green you’d like.
The barley is lovely. Tender but slightly firm, it’s one of my favorite grains in a soup. Filling, too!
Mushroom & Escarole Soup
Cooking with dried mushrooms is always a lot of fun. I love the smell as they come back to life in the hot water – so earthy. Dried mushrooms give any soup a very intense mushroom flavor. Below you’ll see how they reconsitute, looking nearly like fresh mushrooms!
- 1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
- 3 cups very hot water
- 1 lb cremini mushrooms (baby portabellos), stems removed, cleaned and sliced
- 4 carrots, peeled and sliced
- 1 stalk celery, diced
- 1 cup pearled barley
- 2-3 sprigs of thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 1.5 quarts of low-sodium mushroom, vegetable, or chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 bunch escarole, roughly chopped
- olive oil
- salt + pepper
- Soak the porcini mushrooms in the 3 cups of hot water for about 15 minutes or until the mushrooms are soft. Remove the mushrooms and roughly chop them. Save the soaking liquid.
- In a large, heavy soup pot or Dutch oven, heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the cremini mushrooms, celery, and carrots. Cook until they brown, stirring occasionally. Season with a little salt and lots of black pepper.
- Add the porcini mushrooms, soaking water, 1 quart of stock, thyme, bay leaf, and the barley. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer for about 25 minutes. Cook until the barley is tender. Add the escarole and soy sauce. Cook until the escarole is wilted. (For a thinner soup, add the remaining stock.) Remove the thyme sprigs and bay leaf. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve.