This is a rustic Russian recipe adapted from Cooking the Russian Way by Musia Soper. It is a hearty and healthy mushroom soup filled with barley and vegetables, inspired by traditional country cooking of peasants who often make delicious comforting soups to keep their body warm in the often harsh Russian climate. This Mushroom soup “Pokhylopka” is perfect for enduring cold winters and chilly afternoons.
This is a no-meat healthy gourmet recipe so you can serve this as a filling vegetarian meal. It is complete in flavors, textures, and packed with nutrients. One bowl of this soup invigorates the body and enlivens the senses. The sharp intensity of dill is contrasted with the woodsy aroma of the dried mushrooms. It is the starch from the carrots, potatoes, and barley that create a thick dense in the soup that will keep you full for hours. Then the subtly sweet and delicately spicy flavors meld together. The combination creates a pleasant and profound harmony that brings you peace of mind. Because of its harsh climate, soup is an integral part of every Russian meal and most of the Russian soups have a deep and hearty flavor. This easy gourmet recipe, in particular, has an earthy essence and it is best made using wild mushrooms, preferably the dried ones, to achieve that unmistakably intoxicating flavor. Thus, the ideal mushroom to use for this dish are the dried porcini or ceps (also known as boletus). Take note that the dried mushrooms take several hours to soak in water before using them. Cooking time for barley can vary so check that it is tender enough to suit your taste before serving. If you find the broth too thick add water, but don’t make it thin too much as it is meant to be a dense soup. This soup can be made days ahead and stored in the freezer. Just heat it before serving. This way the flavors meld deeper together as the dish develops a more potent and exquisite taste.
4 oz. dried mushrooms
2 tablespoons pearl barley
2 onions (chopped)
2 leeks (chopped)
2 carrots (chopped)
2 Large potatoes (diced)
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons sour cream
½ tablespoon all purpose flour
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon salt
2 sprigs fresh dill (minced)
1. Into a large bowl pour 8 cups of water; add the mushrooms and soak for 2 to 3 hours. Take note that the water covers them.
2. Heat a skillet over medium high heat. Place the butter in it and melt. Add the onion and sauté until tender. Then add the leeks and carrots and cook for another 2 minutes.
3. Transfer the onion mixture to a large saucepan. Drain the mushrooms and pat dry. Add 6 cups of water to the saucepan, as well as the water where the mushrooms soaked in.
4. Slice the mushrooms and add them to the saucepan. Wash, peel and dice the potatoes. Add the potatoes, bay leaves, peppercorns, barley, and salt. Place the saucepan over medium high heat and bring to a simmer and cover. Continue simmering until the barley, potatoes, and mushrooms are tender. Stir occasionally.
5. About 5 minutes before the soup is done cooking, mix the flour and sour cream together in a small bowl. Then add this mixture to the saucepan. Serve with the dill on the side or sprinkled over the top.