Dinner Tonight: Mushroom Barley Soup + Latkes

Soup for dinner this time of year is a great idea. It's warm and soothing, but doesn't leave you feeling like you need to make an immediate trip to the gym. However, just a bowl of soup isn't quite enough. Here, we've paired a rich, brothy mushroom barley soup with ultra-crisp, panko-coated latkes. The soup is quite simple, but needs a good amount of simmer time, so you might consider making a double batch while you're at it and turn this dinner tonight into dinner tomorrow night, too!

The Menu

Mushroom Barley Soup by Berna

Serves 4 to 6

1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms soaked until soft in 1/2 cup hot water (reserve water after soaking)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 shallot, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 ounces pancetta, chopped
1 pound cremini mushrooms, chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 cup dry sherry
1/2 cup pearl barley
4 cups chicken stock
2 cups beef stock
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/3 cup minced fresh parsley

1. In a heavy stock pot add olive oil and saute pancetta until lightly browned.

2. Add onions, carrots, celery and shallot and saute until soft (about 10 minutes).

3. Add garlic and mushrooms and saute until mushrooms release some of their moisture.

4. Remove the rehydrated porcini from the liquid (reserving liquid), chop, and then add to the vegetables in the pot along with the barley and mix to combine.

5. Make a little space at the bottom of the pan and add the tomato paste, cooking for a minute or two to caramelize.

6. Add the soy sauce and sherry and simmer vigorously until almost all of the liquid has evaporated. Then add the stocks and the reserved liquid from the mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper.

7. Simmer soup, covered, for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until barley is soft. Add chopped parsley just before serving.

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Golden Panko Latkes with Sour Cream and Chives

Get the recipe for Golden Panko Latkes on Food52.

The Grocery List

Serves 4 to 6

Sour cream
Dried porcini
Cremini mushrooms
Beef stock
Pearl barley
Fresh parsley

A long-ish list, we know! But nothing hard to find. And you've already got carrots, onions, celery, tomato paste, olive oil, salt, pepper, flour, garlic, sherry, soy sauce, and chicken stock. If not, you'll be needing those, too!

The Plan

1. The order of things this week is quite simple, and dictated by the fact that the soup needs to simmer for a little over an hour once it's assembled. So hop to it!

2. Once the soup is simmering away, you can relax for a while. Power nap anyone? Or perhaps it's time for a cocktail?

3. When the soup has about half an hour left, begin working on the latkes. Shred the potatoes and whip together your egg mixture. Stir together the sour cream and chives and set aside.

4. Fry the latkes, and serve the soup! Dinner is served.

Photos by Sarah Shatz