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