Shaker Gourmet: Root Vegetable Soup

From Shaker Oddjob, who found the recipe in the November issue of Fine Cooking magazine and says that it is "easy and delicious":
1 oz. dried porcini mushrooms
4 slices bacon cut in half crosswise
2 med. red onions (peeled & chopped)
2 cloves garlic (peeled & mashed into paste - adding a little salt while mashing speeds the process)
1 tsp. caraway seed (I hate caraway, so I substituted cumin seed)
1 tsp. dried thyme leaves
2 quarts homemade or (if store bought) lower-sodium chicken broth
2 dried bay leaves
5 med. carrots (peeled and small/medium diced)
2 med. purple-top turnips (peeled and small/medium diced)
2 med. Yukon Gold potatoes (peeled and small/medium diced)
3/4 cup pearl barley (picked over to remove any stray pebbles)
4 tbsp. lemon juice

Put dried porcini mushrooms in a small bowl. Heat some water on the stove to near boiling (or boiling, doesn't matter) and pour over porcini until covered. Let sit for 10-15 minutes (prep. other ingredients as needed/possible while waiting). Remove reconstituted mushrooms from water, chop and set aside. Take the water and pour it through a fine sieve (or wet paper towel/coffee filter) to remove grit and set aside the filtered "liquor".

In a six quart Dutch oven (or larger) brown bacon over medium/medium-high heat. When cooked remove bacon & set aside on a paper towel-lined dish to cool.

Add chopped onions and 1 tsp. salt to the rendered bacon fat in the bottom of the Dutch oven and cook (stirring occasionally) until softened (about 6-8 mins.)

Add garlic paste, caraway, and thyme. Cook (stirring constantly) until fragrant (about 30 secs.)

Add chicken broth, chopped porcini mushrooms, mushroom liquor, bay leaves, carrots, turnips, potatoes, and barley.

Stir, and heat on medium-high until the soup begins to boil (skimming foam as needed). Turn down heat so the soup simmers, cover, and simmer until barley has softened and cooked through (about 20-40 mins.) (Salt and pepper to taste while soup is simmering.)

Remove & discard bay leaves. Add & stir in the lemon juice. Ladle soup into bowls. Garnish with the cooked bacon crumbled over the soup.
Oddjob added: "PS: I am no fan of "boiled turnips"! The turnips are not objectionable at all.

PPS: As with many soups containing barley this soup (after refrigeration) is thicker and even better tasting a day or two later.

PPPS: Despite the bacon fat this is a very low fat soup (less than 20% of the calories come from fat)."

If you'd like to participate in Shaker Gourmet, email me at: shakergourmet (at)

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