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Old-Country Mushroom Barley Soup

Mushroom barley soup has become a standard on Jewish deli restaurant menus, but you can make great mushroom barley soup at home. This pleasing potage is also good for you because of the healthful fiber in the barley, as well as the nutritional qualities of the mushrooms.

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Cooking time: 1 3/4 hours

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Keeping kosher: Meat

1 ounce dried mushrooms, any kind

1 cup hot water

1 1/2 pounds chicken legs or thighs

12 ounces carrots (about 6 small)

2 large onions

9 cups vegetable broth or chicken stock

2/3 cup pearl barley

5 stalks celery

8 ounces fresh mushrooms

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1 teaspoon sweet paprika

1/4 teaspoon hot paprika or cayenne pepper, or to taste

3 tablespoons chopped parsley

  1. Rinse the dried mushrooms and soak them for 20 minutes in hot water.

  2. Remove mushrooms, reserving their soaking liquid.

    If using shiitake mushrooms, discard their stems, which are often tough.

  3. Dice mushrooms if they’re large.

  4. Pour the soaking liquid into another bowl.

    Leave behind the last few tablespoons of liquid, which may be sandy; discard this liquid.

  5. Dice the carrots and onions.

  6. In a large pot, combine chicken, carrots, onions, and 8 cups broth or stock.

  7. Bring to a boil and skim foam from surface of liquid.

  8. Simmer for 15 minutes, skimming foam occasionally.

  9. Dice the celery.

  10. Halve and slice the fresh mushrooms.

  11. Add barley, celery, fresh and dried mushrooms, and reserved mushroom soaking water, salt, pepper, and sweet paprika to the soup.

  12. Cover and cook over low heat for 1 1/4 hours, or until chicken and barley are tender and soup is well flavored.

    From time to time, add a little more water if the soup becomes too thick.

  13. Remove chicken from soup and discard skin and bones.

  14. Return chicken meat to the soup.

  15. Skim off excess fat from soup.

  16. Add hot paprika.

  17. Taste and adjust seasoning.

  18. Serve sprinkled with parsley.

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