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Root Vegetable & Barley Soup with Bacon

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Serves six to eight.

Yields 13 cups.

If you store this for more than a day, the barley will absorb some of the liquid and you’ll need to thin it with a little water when you reheat it.

  • 1 oz. dried porcini mushrooms
  • 2 medium cloves garlic
  • Kosher salt
  • 4 slices bacon, cut in half crosswise
  • 2 medium red onions, chopped
  • 2 small bay leaves
  • 3/4 tsp. caraway seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 quarts lower-salt chicken broth
  • 5 medium carrots, peeled and cut into small dice
  • 2 medium purple-top turnips, peeled and cut into small dice
  • 2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into small dice
  • 3/4 cup pearl barley, picked over, rinsed, and drained
  • 4 tsp. fresh lemon juice

In small bowl, soak the mushrooms in 1 cup boiling water for 20 minutes. Remove the mushrooms and pour the liquid through a fine strainer to remove any grit. Reserve the liquid. Rinse the mushrooms, chop them, and set aside.

Chop the garlic, sprinkle it with 3/4 tsp. salt, and then mash it to a paste with the side of a chef's knife. Set aside.

In a 6-quart (or larger) Dutch oven, cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate, crumble when cool, and set aside.

Add the onions and 1 tsp. salt to the bacon fat and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic paste, bay leaves, caraway seeds, thyme, and 1/4 tsp. pepper and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the chopped mushrooms, mushroom liquid, chicken broth, carrots, turnips, potatoes, barley, and 1-1/2 cups water. Bring to a boil over high heat; skim any foam as necessary. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the barley and vegetables are tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Add the lemon juice, season with salt and pepper, and discard the bay leaves. Serve garnished with the bacon.

You can store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 210; Fat (g): 3.5; Fat Calories (kcal): 30; Saturated Fat (g): 1; Protein (g): 11; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 1.5; Carbohydrates (g): 37; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 0.5; Sodium (mg): 450; Cholesterol (mg): 5; Fiber (g): 7;

Photo: Scott Phillips

To add a little more substance I garneshed withsome turkey sausage that I crisped up rather than bacon.

Excellent blend of flavors! Try it.

The soup was really easy to make and tasted great! My only complaint is that it was really watery right after I finished making it, but the consistency thickened after I let it cool for 45 mins.

I made this soup for dinner the other night and we really enjoyed it. So many good vegetables and the barley and bacon give it a nice heartiness. We had a lot left over,even with seconds. But the leftovers are great - my daughter requested to have some for a snack when she came home from school!

I just served this soup to my husband for lunch. We both loved it (I'm a big fan of Lori Longbotham) however, I did make some slight revisions based on ingredients on hand. I omitted the caraways seeds. I used red potatoes which I peeled as directed and I added some chopped cooked chicken to give the soup some heartiness. The addition of the lemon juice at the end gave the soup just a hint of acidity Very nice. I would definitely make this again.

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