The Simplicity of Soup: Wild Mushroom, Spinach & Barley from Atlanta
I finally had the chance to attempt a recipe from Souper Jenny Cooks, the cookbook from the Atlanta soup diva whose cafe my sister Elaine loves. I just happened to try the “Wild Mushroom, Spinach & Barley Soup” recipe (see below), which Elaine says is one of her favorites.
This is a soup for the peak of fall mushroom season. But I still found the shiitake and oyster mushrooms I needed at the food co-op (mushrooms ain’t cheap, though). Luckily, cremini mushrooms were on sale so I used them too. I added a combo of homemade chicken stock and prepared vegetable broth, and tossed in wild rice because I didn’t have enough barley. Through in some celeriac and chopped cabbage, too. And I’m probably the only person who would have Chinese Shaoxing wine in the house but not dry sherry, so I made that substitution too (the two can be used pretty interchangeably).
It was a healthy, hearty soup. Can’t wait to try more of the recipes. Thanks for the great cookbook, sis! Can’t wait to visit the soup cafeteria in person with you.
Wild Mushroom, Spinach & Barley Soup (Serves 8-10)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, peeled and chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
4 cups shiitake mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
4 cups oyster mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
8 ounces button mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1 cup dry sherry
16 cups low sodium vegetable broth
2 cups fresh spinach, rinsed and chopped
2 1/2 cups dry barley
salt and pepper
Heat a heavy duty stock pot and add olive oil. Saute onion and garlic until soft. Add all mushrooms and sherry and saute over medium heat until mushrooms are soft (about 15 minutes). Add vegetable broth and spinach and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Stir in barley and simmer for another 25 to 30 minutes. Add more broth if soup is thicker than you like. Add salt and pepper to taste.
A Note on Cleaning Mushrooms
For this soup, I am very careful about how I clean my mushrooms. First put mushrooms in a colander and shake out any loose dirt or grit. Then, with a damp cloth, wipe down the mushrooms individually. Rinsing mushrooms causes them to absorb excess liquid, which makes them rubbery.
From Souper Jenny Cooks by Jennifer Levison