1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms (about 1 cup)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 pound shiitake or button mushrooms, stemmed and roughly chopped
3 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
1 cup pearl barley
Salt and pepper
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Soak porcini in 3 cups very hot water. Put olive oil in a medium saucepan and turn heat to high. Add shiitakes and carrots, and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to brown. Add barley, and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until it begins to brown; sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Remove the porcini from their soaking liquid, and reserve liquid. Sort through porcini and discard any hard bits.
Add porcini to pot and cook, stirring, for about a minute. Add bay leaf, mushroom soaking water and 3 cups additional water (or stock, if you prefer). Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer; cook until barley is very tender, 20 to 30 minutes. Add soy sauce, and taste. Add salt if necessary and plenty of pepper. Serve hot. Yield 4 servings. Time 45 minutes. Source: The New York Times
Notes: The soup becomes a light meal with bread or, even better, croutons -- just brown slices of good bread on both sides in as much olive oil as you need. You can also make this soup into a stew by adding small chunks of any ingredient you like, including meat, while the soup is simmering. It will be done at about the same time as the barley.