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Mushroom Barley Soup

A hearty, healthy soup for cold winter days. Full of vitamins and minerals too!

1 ounce dried porcini or shiitake mushrooms
6 cups hot water
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large chopped onions
4 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
1 pound fresh cremini (brown) mushrooms, peeled and chopped
2/3 cups regular pearl barley
4 sprigs fresh parsley
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
6 cups canned beef broth
¾ teaspoon salt
generous grinds of black pepper

1. Place mushroom in a small bowl with two cups of the hot water; let stand for 20 minutes until softened.
2. Remove mushrooms from liquid and chop coarsely.
3. Strain the liquid through a paper coffee filter or cheesecloth and reserve
4. In a medium stockpot, heat butter and olive oil over low heat. Add onions and carrots and sauté for 5 to 7 minutes.
5. Increase heat to medium-high, add fresh mushrooms, and sauté for 3 minutes.
6. Add barley and cook for 2 minutes.
7. Add parsley, thyme, bay leaf, beef broth, mushroom liquid and remaining 4 cups hot water.
8. Simmer uncovered for 45 minutes, until barley is soft.
9. Adjust seasonings and serve.

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