Many of you may not know that I spend enormous amounts of time foraging for wild mushrooms and I have been doing it since I was a kid. (I am not going to post link after link -if you are curious so a search on the blog - mushroomlandia would be a keyword to try) I have loved mushrooms since the very first time I tasted a sauteed button mushroom with lots of butter poured over toast (my very first "gourmet" dish that I made for myself as often as we had mushrooms.) Some of you might remember that I have posted about learning about various wild mushrooms from my grandmother as child growing up in New Mexico and all this adds up to one thing - I like mushrooms.
Seven kinds of wild mushrooms went into this cauldron of barley delight. Maitake otherwise known as Hen of the Woods, King Bolete, White Bolete, Wine Cap, Oyster, Trumpet and King Oyster, some of them from here in the Northeast and some of them from New Mexico. I let the dried mushrooms soak in hot water until they were plump and juicy then I chopped them into big but bite size chunks.
After the carrots, celery, onions and garlic were sauteed a bit I added in the mushrooms and the mushroom soaking liquid and then the pearled barley and I let it simmer for about 45 minutes until the barley had bloomed to a nice al dente consistency.
Serve it up in huge ladles full with a chunk of fresh buttery Italian bread and seconds and thirds would not be unusual. The dish is easy to make and you can use any mushrooms you want so while dried and rehydrated mushrooms do pack a lot more flavor this would be equally as good with sauteed fresh mushrooms. Make some mushroom barley soup, its worth it.
If you havent voted yet you have until March 4th to vote in the Ridiculously Delicious Challenge - ChezWhat - sour cherry ice cream with coconut sugar threads and a pastry is my entry.