Wild Mushroom (Porcini) Soup

porcini mushroom soup russian

Russians love to pick wild mushrooms, and porcini (aka boletes, king mushrooms, or ceps) are considered the best of all. These mushrooms are highly prized for their delicious earthy, smokey flavor. If not consumed immediately, porcini should be dried for later use in soups and stews. Drying intensifies the flavor and captures all the goodness of this beautiful mushroom. Unfortunately I did not have much luck picking wild porcini here in BC although they definitely do grow here. The only time I was able to find wild porcini was in the Okanagan. I dried them and used them sparingly for soups. This is the last batch of the Okanagan crop.

If you do not pick mushrooms yourself, wild porcini are often sold in veggie stores and Italian grocery stores. You need very little of dried mushrooms to add loads of flavor to your soups and stews. If you can’t find porcini, other kinds of mushrooms like shiitake can also be used. Just remember that the flavor of the soup will depend on the kind of mushroom you use.


  • 1 oz /25-30 g porcini mushrooms or other dried mushrooms
  • 1 cup barley
  • 4 medium potatoes
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 onion
  • 1 tablespoon salt

1. Soak ~2 ounces / 50 grams of dried mushrooms in cold water overnight.

2. Line a colander with a paper towel  or cheesecloth, place over a container, and drain the mushrooms. Keep the liquid used to soak the mushrooms. It contains a lot of flavor and will be used  as a stock for soup.

.3. If necessary, cut the soaked mushroom pieces to a smaller size.

4. Combine the mushrooms and a reserved soaking liquid in  a large pot. Add enough water so the total volume is about 3 pints (3 liters). Add salt.


.5. Meanwhile, rinse barley very well under running cold water.

.6. Add barley to the pot with enough water to cover the barley by about 1 in. (2.5 cm). Cook on medium heat until all of the liquid has evaporated.

.7. Cut potatoes into cubes. Add to soup.

8. Add cooked barley to soup. Stir well and simmer soup for about 15 minutes.

.9. Meanwhile, chop the onion into small pieces. Grate the carrot on a coarse grater. Coat  a frying pan with vegetable oil and fry onion and carrot together until onion softens (about 3 min).

.10. Add carrot and onion mixture to the soup.

11. Remove soup from heat and serve as is  or with a dollop of sour cream.

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