Mushroom and pearl barley soup (minestra di orzo e funghi)


You can use any mushrooms you like in this dish, but the pine mushrooms add nice colour and flavour. It's more of a stew than a soup, really, with little liquid and plenty of comfort factor.

You'll need

1 ham hock (about 900gm) 60 ml (¼ cup) extra-virgin olive oil 1 leek, finely chopped 1 onion, finely chopped 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped 400 gm white pearl barley, rinsed 20 gm dried porcini mushrooms, soaked in ¼ cup cold water for 20 minutes, finely chopped, water reserved 2 thyme sprigs, plus extra leaves to serve 8 small pine mushrooms, coarsely chopped ¼ cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley, optional To serve: finely grated pecorino

Method

  • 01
  • Place ham hock in a large saucepan with 3 litres cold water, bring to the simmer over low-medium heat and cook until meat is falling from the bone (3-4 hours). Remove with a slotted spoon, set aside, then, when cool enough to handle, shred meat (discard skin, bone and sinew). Reserve ham stock and meat separately.
  • 02
  • Heat 1 tbsp oil in a saucepan over medium heat, add leek, onion and garlic and stir occasionally until starting to caramelise (10-15 minutes). Add pearl barley, dried mushrooms, mushroom water and thyme, pour over ham stock to cover and cook over medium heat until barley is tender (30-40 minutes).
  • 03
  • Meanwhile, heat remaining oil in a separate saucepan over high heat, add pine mushrooms in batches and cook until golden, adding more oil if necessary (2-3 minutes). Add to soup with parsley and shredded ham and cook until mushrooms are very tender (5-10 minutes). Serve hot scattered with pecorino and extra thyme.

At A Glance

  • Serves 8 people
The Gourmet Traveller podcast

Each fortnight we round up the most interesting characters from the food world for your listening pleasure. We chat to chefs, cooks, authors, bar tenders and baristas - anyone who has something new and interesting to say about the way we like to eat and drink.

Listen
Recipe collections

Looking for fresh dinner ideas? Not sure how to make the most out of seasonal produce? Or do you need to plan the perfect party menu? Our recipe collections have you covered.

See more

At A Glance

  • Serves 8 people

Featured in

May 2011

You might also like...

A culinary Tour de France

recipes

T-bone steaks with garlic buttered mushrooms and mash

Beef cheek recipes

recipes

Crisp-skin trout with grapefruit, walnut and radicchio salad

Beef cheek recipes

recipes

Steak with sweet and sour beetroot and horeseradish creme fraiche

Roast snapper with mandarin and fennel sauce

recipes

Good Luck Pinbone's Sichuan chilli eggplant with wood-ear fungus

Deep-fried chicken with finger-lime sauce

recipes

Soy-roast duck with mandarin

conversion tool