- 1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms I only used 1/2 ounce because it cost over $3
- 3 cups water
- 1/4 cup EVOO
- 1/3 pound thick cut pancetta or prosciutto ends, chopped into 1/4-inch dice I kinda went crazy here and used 3/4 pound of bacon (what can I say I misread the ingredients list)
- 3/4 pound cremini mushroom caps, wiped clean and quartered (these are also known as baby bellas) you can also use just cheap white button mushrooms if you using meat in the dish
- 1 bay leaf, fresh or dried
- 2 leeks, trimmed, sliced, washed and dried (or two onions but leeks are cooler)
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 3 tablespoons fresh sage, very thinly sliced
- 2 sprigs rosemary, finely chopped
- 1 15-ounce can diced, fire roasted tomatoes I found these for the first time! They are with the other canned tomatoes.
- 1 quart chicken stock for vegetarians you can use mushroom stock or vegetable stock
- 1 cup pearl barley
- 1 bunch kale leaves stripped from stems and thinly chopped
- Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
Heat EVOO, 4 turns of the pan, in a large Dutch oven or soup pot over medium-high heat. Add pancetta or chopped bacon and cook until browning, 2-3 minutes (omit if making vegetarian version) then add cremini mushrooms and bay leaf. Cook 10-12 minutes to soften and darken the mushrooms. Add leeks and garlic, season with salt and pepper and cook 5 minutes more. Add sage, rosemary, stock and tomatoes.
Remove softened dried mushrooms from the stock and chop. Add them along with their cooking liquids to the soup pot, taking care to leave behind any grit from the mushrooms in the stock pot. Stir in barley and simmer for 45 minutes. When barley is done add kale and a little freshly grated nutmeg. Bring soup back to a boil just until the kale has wilted.
Taste to adjust seasonings and serve in shallow bowls with cornbread (or if you forget to make cornbread like I did, toast).