A soup to take you through the off-season

Cookbook author Catherine Walthers shares a favorite.

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Rustic root vegetable soup with wild rice and barley. — Alison Shaw

Rustic Root Vegetable Soup with Wild Rice and Barley
Recipe from Soups + Sides, by Catherine Walthers

The toothsome root veggies coupled with the wild rice and barley add a pleasant chewiness to the soup, and enhance the earthiness of the root vegetables. Though the list appears long, it’s an easy, uncomplicated soup to make. It makes a large batch, and can be frozen. Serves 8.

½ oz. dried porcini mushrooms
1 onion, diced
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 leek (use all parts) rinsed and sliced
1 small to medium rutabaga, peeled or pared with a knife, and cut into small dice
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
8 cups chicken stock
4 carrots, peeled and cut into small dice
1 celery root (or 2 parsnips, if unavailable), peeled and cut into small dice
⅓ cup barley
⅓ cup wild rice (not the quick-cooking variety)
1 Tbsp. fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
3 to 4 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley

In a small bowl, soak porcini mushrooms in 2 cups of hot water for 10 to 15 minutes. Drain, but save the soaking water to add to the soup. Chop the mushrooms finely.

In a soup pot, sauté the onion in the olive oil until soft, about 6 minutes. Add the leek and rutabaga, and cook until leeks are soft, another 6 to 8 minutes, stirring often. Add garlic and sauté another 1 or 2 minutes. Mix in tomato paste.

Add the chopped porcini and the soaking water (being careful to leave any grit at the bottom of the bowl), chicken stock, carrots, celery root (or parsnip), barley, wild rice, 1 tsp. salt, and thyme, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover partially, and cook until the barley and wild rice are tender, but not mushy, approximately 50 to 55 minutes. Stir in the parsley, and add additional salt to taste, and some pepper.