1/2 cup dried mushrooms, preferably shiitake or porcini
1 cup boiling water
3/4 cup peeled and diced carrot
3/4 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced celery
1 cup pearl barley
4 cups water, more if needed
4 cups beef or chicken broth, more if needed
Salt and pepper
1. In a large, heavy-bottom saucepan or small pot, soak the dried mushrooms in the boiling water until hydrated, about 15 minutes.
2. Stir in the carrot, onion, celery and barley, along with the water and broth. Bring the liquid to a simmer over high heat.
3. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer, loosely cover and continue to cook for about 2 hours, until the barley is tender and the flavors are developed. Add additional water or broth to the soup to thin as desired, and season to taste with salt and pepper. This makes about 1 quart soup.
SOS REQUESTS: Send Culinary SOS requests to email@example.com or Culinary SOS, Food section, Los Angeles Times, 202 W. 1st St., Los Angeles, CA 90012. Please include your name, phone number and city of residence.