Mushroom Sausage and Barley Soup

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1 ounce dried assorted wild mushrooms
1 cup boiling water
1/4 cup olive oil
3 onions (finely chopped)
4 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
1 pound button mushrooms (cleaned and thinly sliced)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 cup dry sherry
5 cups chicken or vegetable stock
5 cups water
1 cup pearl barley
1 teaspoon fresh thyme (finely chopped)
1/2 teaspoon fresh rosemary (chopped)
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


  1. In a small bowl soak dried mushrooms in the boiling water for 20 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board, reserving the liquid, finely chop and set aside. Strain reserved liquid through a fine strainer and set aside.

  2. In a Dutch oven or large soup pot, heat 3 tablespoons of oil over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add fresh and dried mushrooms, and soy sauce and cook, stirring, until the mushrooms have released their liquid. Add the sherry and bring to a boil. Continue cooking until the liquid has almost completely evaporated.

  3. Add the stock, water, reserved mushroom liquid, barley and herbs to the pot. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook until the barley is tender, about 1 hour.

  4. Just before the soup is ready, heat the remaining oil in a sauté pan and brown the sausage on all sides. Cut into ½ inch slices and add to the soup. Season to taste with salt and pepper.