The recipe was based on Mark Bittman's mushroom and barley stew from the wonderful, amazing cookbook, How to Cook Everything Vegetarian - my all-time favorite cookbook! My version includes celery, potatoes, carrots, garlic, local turnips, reconstituted dried porcinis (incredibly flavorful), baby portabellos, pearled barley, thyme, vegetable stock, and fresh parsley. It was hearty and satisfying. I will definitely make this soup again this winter.
Aaron and I enjoyed this soup with a salad of local lettuce, local roasted beets, sliced mushrooms, and an improvised dressing made with some leftover vegan cheese sauce from the vegan mac and cheese I made the night before, red wine vinegar, dijon mustard, and lime juice.
I really enjoy meals like this. I love root vegetables, and I know that beets, turnips, and potatoes are seen as sort of humble and unsexy, but with a little love and attention, they can shine. Their flavors pair perfectly with the earthy richness of mushrooms, and nothing beats the combination of a warm stew with a cool, crunchy fall salad. Yum.