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Wild Mushroom-Barley Soup

Wild Mushroom-Barley Soup


  • 1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms or mixed wild mushrooms

  • 1 quart chicken stock

  • 3 cups water

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)

  • 1/3 pound thick-cut pancetta or prosciutto ends, chopped into 1/4-inch dice

  • 3/4 pound crimini mushroom caps, wiped clean and quartered or sliced

  • 1 bay leaf, fresh or dried

  • 2 leeks, trimmed, sliced, washed and dried or 2 medium onions, chopped

  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped or grated

  • Salt and pepper

  • 3 tablespoons fresh sage, very thinly sliced

  • 2 sprigs rosemary, finely chopped

  • 1 can diced, fire-roasted tomatoes (15 ounces)

  • 1 cup pearl barley

  • 1 bunch kale or dinosaur kale, leaves stripped from stems and thinly sliced

  • Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste

  • 1 can diced, fire-roasted tomatoes (15 ounces)


Place the dried mushrooms in a medium pot with the stock and 3 cups of water. Bring to a bubble and reduce heat to simmer.

Heat the EVOO, four turns of the pan, in a large Dutch oven or soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta and crisp, 2-3 minutes, then add the mushroom caps and bay leaf. Cook for 10-12 minutes to soften and darken the mushrooms. Add the leeks or onions and garlic, season with salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes more. Add the sage, rosemary and tomatoes.

Remove the softened dried mushrooms from the stock and chop. Add them, along with their cooking liquid, to the soup pot, taking care to leave behind any grit from the mushrooms. Stir in the barley and kale, then add a little freshly grated nutmeg. Bring the soup to a boil, cover and reduce the heat to simmer. Cook for 20 minutes.

Taste to adjust the seasonings and serve in shallow bowls.