Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated, we found this to be a fantastic weeknight dinner. It’s affordable, works for all seasons and easily adapted to a strict vegetarian (vegan) edition. Serve with fresh bread.
- 1/8 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
- 8 sprigs fresh parsley plus 3 tablespoons chopped
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (use olive oil for vegan adaptation)
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- 2 celery ribs, diced
- 1/3 cup white wine
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- Salt and pepper
- 6 cups water
- 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth (use vegetable broth for vegan adaptation)
- 1/2 cup pearl barley
- 1 garlic clove, peeled and smashed
- 1 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 1/2 cups chopped green cabbage
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
1. Grind porcini with spice grinder until they resemble fine meal, 10 to 30 seconds. Measure out 2 teaspoons porcini powder; reserve remainder for other use. Using kitchen twine, tie together parsley sprigs, thyme, and bay leaf.
2. Melt butter (or olive oil) in sauté pan over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, celery, and 2 teaspoons salt. Deglaze with wine as needed. Cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid has evaporated and celery is softened, about 10 minutes. Add soy sauce, and cook for 1 minute more.
3. Transfer sautéed vegetables to crockpot and set aside sauté pan. Add water, broth, barley, porcini powder, herb bundle, garlic, and potatoes to crockpot.
4. Pan steam cabbage in pan with 1/4 to 1/2 cup water: cook until cabbage wilts.
5. Transfer cabbage to crockpot.
6. Cover crockpot and cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4-5 hours. Just before serving, stir in lemon juice, and chopped parsley; season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve, passing Lemon-Thyme Butter (diced thyme mixed into butter with a dash of lemon) separately for guests to garnish their soup.