I used this weekend to catch up, and it feels so great. I filed everything remaining from 2006, finally put away the Christmas tree, mailed off a bunch of things to friends that had been waiting for a few weeks, cleaned all the receipts, recipes and old magnets off the fridge, and made soup which I froze it in preparation for a Soup Swap next weekend (which I’m very excited about). I made Mushroom-Barley Soup from How To Cook Everything and it can be labeled soup success, a nice surprise since it was the first time I’d made soup. It’s vegetarian, and doesn’t need any oil or fat (it doesn’t use a stock). I’m very impressed with it.
I have a question about one of the steps, see below.
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from How To Cook Everything by Mark Bittman
Makes at least 6 servings.
Time: About one hour.
8 cups water
1 cup pearled barley
1 cup roughly chopped carrots
1 cup roughly chopped parsnip
1 cup roughly chopped onion [I did 1/2 C. large shallot and 1/2 C. onion]
1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
1 pound fresh mushrooms, any kind
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup snipped fresh dill, minced chives, or minced parsley leaves
1. Put the water in a stockpot and bring to a boil. Add the barley,
carrots, onion, and parsnip.
2. Turn the heat to low and partially cover; the mixture should be
bubbling, but only a little. Soak the dried mushrooms in warm water to
cover until tender (about 10 minutes), and clean, trim, and slice the
3. Strain the soaked mushrooms; reserve their liquid. Add all the
mushrooms to the simmering soup. Add the mushroom-soaking liquid to
the soup. Simmer the soup for 30 to 45 minutes more, until the barley
and vegetables are tender.
4. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Stir in half the dill, chives, or
parsley, then top individual servings with the remaining herb. [I
forgot to add the parsley to the soup and it's still yummy without it,
but the herb does add a nice note.]
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Ok, here is my question. In step #3, why do you add the soaked porcini mushrooms, and then the reserved liquid? Why don’t you just pour the whole bowl of soaked mushrooms and water into the pot at the same time?