|Shortly before Serving|
|Jenny, the mushroomian|
The soup for the night, falling between amuse-bouche and poultry, was a Beef Mushroom Barley soup, which I carefully crafted a couple days before. When I was cooking it, I had in mind my very dear friend Jenny, who likes beef, mushrooms, and heat—thus the addition of a dried hot pepper to the fortification of the soup's broth. She thoroughly approved of the soup (as did the assembled masses.) Therefore, I present to you, a recipe.
|Seared Short Ribs|
4 strips of cross-cut (flanken cut) short ribs
14 oz (392 g, about 1 large) onion, chopped
6 - 7 oz (170-200 g) each, chopped
3 cloves garlic
10 stems parsley
1 hot pepper, dried
|Shiitake Caps and Button Mushrooms|
2 quarts (1892 ml, 1/2 gallon) beef stock
2 bay leaves
2 tsp (10 ml) black peppercorns
3.5 oz (1 package, 100 g) shiitake mushrooms, stems cut off and reserved, caps sliced 1 cm wide
3.5 oz (100 g) oyster mushrooms, separated and chopped
12 oz (341 g) button mushrooms, sliced
1 pack (1/2 oz, 14 g) porcini mushrooms
2 parsnips, small dice
8 oz (227 g) carrot, small dice
1/2 of a celery heart, small dice
1 lb (454 g) onion, small dice
1 cup (237 ml) pearl barley, rinsed, picked over, and soaked in 3 cups water
|Porcini being Reconstituted|
2. In a large soup pot, heat a few tablespoons of vegetable oil. Salt the short ribs, and sear them in the hot oil on all sides. Remove from pot as you complete and set on a plate. Sear all ribs in this manner.
4. Add all of the stock, beef and veal both, along with the veal stock used to reconstitute the porcini. Return the short ribs to the pot, add the bay leaves and peppercorns, and bring the whole to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, and allow to cook for 4 hours.
|Simmering all the Ingredients|
6. After at least 4 hours of simmering, strain the soup and reserve the broth. Test the seasonings of the broth now, and add salt and pepper to your taste.
7. Sauté the button, shiitake, and oyster mushrooms in a scant amount of butter or oil, until they begin to soften and release some liquid. Add these to the soup, along with any liquid from the pan. Sauté the vegetables and add those to the pot, deglazing the sauté pan if necessary with some of the broth. Add the chopped beef, bring the whole to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and simmer 30 minutes.
This is a very, very hearty soup, and will yield a gallon or more when complete. You may want to back off the amounts of garnish vegetables and mushrooms, or increase the amount of stock, if you prefer a brothier soup.