Okay, I've finished eating my third bowl of this soup, and I'm seriously tempted go for one more. This recipe is a winner, so I wanted it recorded here before I forget what I did!
First, it takes its inspiration from the Cook's Illustrated Farmhouse Vegetable & Barley Soup. (You'll have to sign up for 4-week trial in order to access the recipe.) That said, I changed a few things, so here, for the record, is my version.
- 1/8 ounce mixed dried mushrooms (I used lobster, chanterelle, and morel)
- 4 sprigs fresh parsley and 4 sprigs cilantro tied together with kitchen string
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 leeks, white parts parts sliced
- 3 carrots, peeled and cut into cubes
- 2 celery ribs, cut into cubes
- 1/3 cup dry white wine
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- salt and pepper
- 2 cups water
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 1 large can of diced tomatoes
- 1/2 cup pearl barley
- 1 garlic clove, peeled and smashed
- 3 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 2 cups finely chopped kale
- 2 tablespoons lemon rind
- 3 tablespoons butter
1. First I ground the dried mushrooms into a powder using my coffee grinder.
2. I then chopped up the carrots, leeks, and celery. I melted some butter in a big sauce post. And the veggies went into the pot with the soy sauce, wine, and some salt. I sauteed them for 10 mins.
3. Next I added all the liquid ingredients (water, tomatoes, and stock), 2 teaspoons of the ground mushrooms, the sprigs of parsley and cilantro, the pearl barley, and the smashed garlic. I brought these to a boil, then turned down the heat a bit and let them simmer for 25 minutes partially covered.
4. At that point, I added the cubed potatoes and the kale, and I let the whole thing simmer for another 25 minutes (testing the potatoes a few times for doneness along the way).
5. When everything was done, I fished out the parsley and cilantro sprigs and the clove of garlic. I also skimmed the scum off the top of the soup because I heard once that this contains bitter elements from the vegetables. I'm not actually sure if this is true or not.
6. And finally, just before serving the I mixed the rind of one lemon with the 3 tablespoons of butter and stirred it into the soup until melted. I know a lot of people would be tempted to skip this last step, but don't. It's so worth it.
And that's it. Pretty much the best vegetable soup I've ever made in my life.