Savory Barley Soup with Wild Mushrooms & Thyme

  • Yield: servings


1/2ounce dried porcini mushrooms
1/2cup dry white wine
1tablespoon olive oil
1/2cup chopped shallots
2cloves garlic, minced
8ounces cremini mushrooms, chopped
1teaspoon minced fresh thyme, or 1/2 tsp dried
3cups chicken broth
3/4cup pearl barley
1tablespoon tomato paste
2teaspoons fresh lemon juice


  1. Rinse the porcini well to remove any dirt or grit. In a small saucepan, bring the wine to a simmer. Remove from the heat and add the porcini. Let stand for 15 minutes, then drain the porcini over a bowl, reserving the liquid, and finely chop.
  2. In a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat, warm the oil. Add the shallots and garlic. Sauté until the shallots are wilted, 3–5 minutes. Add the cremini, thyme, 1⁄4 tsp salt, and 1⁄4 tsp pepper. Cook until the cremini release their liquid and begin to brown, 4–5 minutes. Add the reserved mushroom soaking liquid and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits from the pan bottom.
  3. Add the broth, barley, tomato paste, 3 cups (24 fl oz/750 ml) water, and the chopped porcini to the pot. Cover and simmer until the barley is tender to the bite, 45–50 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.
  4. Purée about 1 cup (8 fl oz/250 ml) of the soup in a blender. Return to the pot, heat until just hot, and stir in the lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Reprinted with permission from "Williams-Sonoma Soup of the Day" by Kate McMillan, Weldon Owen.