Dried porcini mushrooms give this wild mushroom, bacon & barley broth a rich flavour, which the barley and veg soak up. Do try it with a sprinkling of cheese – it lifts a bowl of soup into a meal in itself
200g pack bacon lardons or rashers bacon, cut into small pieces
4 medium carrots
3 celery sticks
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 sprig each rosemary and thyme
30g pack dried porcini or dried mixed wild mushrooms
1 glass white wine
1.5 litres/2¾ pints chicken stock
175g/6oz pearl barley, well rinsed
1 small head spring greens or chunk of Savoy cabbage
Parmesan or any strong hard cheese, grated, to serve
Put a large saucepan over a medium heat. Sizzle the lardons or bacon for 10 mins until golden, stirring now and then. While they cook, chop the onions, carrots and celery into smallish pieces. When the bacon is ready, stir in the veg, garlic and herbs, cover and gently cook for 10 mins.
Meanwhile, put the mushrooms into a jug, then fill up to the 600ml mark with boiling water. Leave to soak for 10 mins.
Lift the mushrooms out of their juice with a slotted spoon and roughly chop. Turn up the heat under the pan, add the mushrooms, fry for 1 min, then pour in the wine. Let it evaporate right down, then pour the liquid from the mushroom jug into the pan, avoiding the last drops, as they can be gritty. Add the stock and barley. Simmer for 40 mins until the barley is tender. Lift out the thyme and rosemary stalks. Can be made up to 2 days ahead or frozen for up to 1 month. If you make ahead, the soup will need loosening with a little more stock as the barley will thicken it over time.
When ready to serve, finely shred the greens and simmer in the soup for 5 mins until tender. Season to taste, then serve with cheese for sprinkling over the top, crusty bread and butter.
290 kcals, protein 18g, carbs 35g, fat 9g, sat fat 3g, fibre 5g, sugar 9g, salt 1.75g