CD’s Very Best Lentil, Mushroom
& Barley Soup
Dragonwagon suggests serving this hearty soup with “warmed brioche,
perhaps, or popovers. Add a simple green salad with some bitter greens,
very lightly dressed with an assertive vinaigrette.”
4 cups water
1 cup lentils
¾ cup pearled barley
1 bay leaf
6 cups mushroom stock
2 oz mixed dried porcini and shiitake mushrooms
2-3 tbsp butter
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
2 stalks celery with leaves, coarsely chopped
1 carrot, coarsely chopped
1 small parsnip, peeled and finely chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cups crisp, dry white wine
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 lb fresh mushrooms, tough stems removed, coarsely chopped
½ bunch fresh dill, tough stems removed, chopped
1 tsp salt, or more to taste
freshly ground black pepper
1. In a large soup pot, combine water, lentils, barley and bay leaf. Bring to a full boil, then turn down to simmer and cook, covered, until the legumes and barley are almost tender; 45-50 minutes. Stir in the mushroom stock, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover tightly. Continue to cook slowly.
2. Meanwhile, place the dried mushrooms in a heatproof bowl, pour in enough boiling water to barely cover them and set aside.
3. Put a large skillet over medium heat; when hot, add butter. When melted, lower heat slightly, add onion, and cook, stirring often until limp and golden but not browned, about 8 minutes. Add celery, carrot and parsnip, and sauté for 3 minutes more. Turn heat to low, add garlic, and sauté for 1 minute. Add wine and tomato paste; heat, scraping with a wooden spoon to loosen any browned bits. Stir onion mixture into the legume-barley mixture.
4. Strain the soaked mushrooms through a coffee filter–lined sieve over a bowl; reserve the soaking liquid. Coarsely chop the mushrooms and add them and the soaking liquid to the pot. Add fresh mushrooms, dill, salt and black pepper to taste. Stir well, cover, and continue cooking over very low heat until lentils and barley are very tender and the soup thick, about 1 hour. Discard the bay leaf. Serve hot, in warmed bowls, with a sprig of dill atop each one.
Serves 4 to 6
Crescent Dragonwagon, from Bean By Bean: A Cookbook
(Workman Publishing Company, 2012; www.workman.com).