Snow day!  Perfect for enjoying a bowl of soup, like this one!  The first time I prepared this dish, it was deemed too beefy.  That might have had something to do with the 4 cups of beef stock I used to replace some of the water in the original recipe.  After some trial and error over the past few years, I have finally found the appropriate ratio of stock to water, and the results speak for themselves.  Leftovers of this soup do not stick around this house for very long.

Beef, Mushroom, and Barley Soup

Adapted from Gourmet, September 2006

Yields 4 to 6 servings


1/2 oz dried porcini mushrooms
1-1/2 cups boiling hot water
3 cups beef stock or broth
2 cups water
1 pound beef stew meat
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 large onion, chopped
1 carrot, diced
1 celery rib, diced
4 to 6 oz. fresh cremini (baby bella) mushrooms, sliced
1-1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/3 cup pearl barley
1/2 teaspoon dried dill


  1. Place dried mushrooms in a medium bowl and pour boiling water into bowl.  Soak mushrooms until softened, about 20 minutes.  Drain in a paper towel lined colander set over a bowl and reserve the soaking liquid.  Rinse mushrooms, pat dry, and very finely chop.
  2. Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon of salt on the stew meat.
  3. Heat 1/2 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet and cook stew meat until browned, 8 to 10 minutes.
  4. In a large stock pot, add the porcini mushrooms, soaking liquid, beef broth, water, pepper, and  the remaining salt and bring to a low boil over moderate heat.
  5. Cook carrots, celery, onion and creminis in remaining oil in a large skillet over medium heat until softened, about 10 minutes.  Add barley and cook for another minute, stirring.
  6. Add the stew meat, vegetables and barley to the stock pot and simmer, uncovered, until barley is tender, about 40 minutes.
  7. Serve with dill sprinkled over top.

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