Mushroom Barley Soup – The Peoples Choice

Don't you love how I am touting my soups.  I got to get it where I can.  Here is the peoples choice, Mushroom Barley Soup

5 carrots, sliced into small pieces
3 onions sliced into small pieces
2 shallots sliced
4 big leeks (white part only) sliced
6 celery stalks sliced into small pieces
2 lbs mixture of white and cremini mushrooms sliced thin
5 tbsp. flour
6 tbsp. butter
olive oil
4 cups very warm water
1 1/2 cup. pearl barley
8 ounces dried porcini mushrooms
16 cups chicken broth( swear and you could use vegetable to keep it vegetarian but i believe chicken has more flavor)

Put the porcinis in a large bowl and pour 4 cups of very warm water over the mushrooms and let that soak for about 45 minutes.

Take a large stock pot and add the butter and a few shots of olive oil and turn on high.  Once the butter is melted, add the carrots, celery, shallots, leeks and onions.  Saute for about 10 minutes or until everything is just turning brown.  The beginnings here are the key to a good soup.

Add the fresh sliced mushrooms, saute for another few minutes.  Add the flour and continue stirring for about 5 minutes.  At this point, the mixture will become much thicker. 

Add the chicken broth, bring to a boil.  While this is getting hot, deal with the porcinis.  I used a slotted spoon and took the porcinis out of the liquid and put them in a separate bowl.  Then I use a few layers of cheese cloth and strained the liquid into another bowl.  I cut up the porcinis a few times with a knife and then put them in a strainer, poured water over them a few times to get rid of the dirt. 

Once the mixture boils, add the mushroom water liquid.  Bring to a boil again and then add the porcinis and the pearl barley.  Bring to a boil again.  I tasted the soup at this point to see how much salt was needed.  Plenty was the answer.  More than I could imagine but I went with it.  Trust your taste buds.  If you had a particularly salty broth, this won't happen but my broth was obviously bland. 

Let this simmer for about 45 minutes or until the barley is done.

Voila… you now have the peoples choice.