If you love mushrooms or barley and the feeling of nutritional superiority that comes from eating kale, this soup is for you.

Serves 6-8
Original recipe from the New York Times

1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
2 cups boiling water
1 to 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, as needed
1 large onion, chopped
8 oz. fresh cremini, shitake or mixture of mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed and sliced
2 large garlic cloves, minced
Salt, preferably kosher salt, to taste
3/4 cup whole or pearl barley
2 quarts chicken stock, vegetable stock, or water (I used chicken stock)
A bouquet garni made with a few sprigs each thyme and parsley, and a bay leaf and a Parmesan rind
8 to 10 ounces dark green kale, stemmed and cut into ribbons
Black pepper to taste

Place the dried porcini mushrooms in a bowl or a Pyrex measuring cup, and pour on two cups boiling water. Let sit for 30 minutes. Set a strainer over a bowl, and line it with cheesecloth. Lift the mushrooms from the water and squeeze over the strainer, then rinse. Squeeze out the water and set aside. Strain the soaking water through the cheesecloth-lined strainer. Add water as necessary to make two cups. Set aside.
Heat the oil in a large, heavy soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat, and add the onion. Cook, stirring often, until just about tender, about five minutes, and add the sliced fresh mushrooms. Cook, stirring, until the mushrooms are beginning to soften, about three minutes, and add the garlic and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Continue to cook for about five minutes, until the mixture is juicy and fragrant.
Add the reconstituted dried mushrooms, the barley, the mushroom soaking liquid, and the stock or water. Salt to taste. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer 45 minutes. Meanwhile, stack the kale leaves in bunches and cut crosswise into slivers. Simmer the bouquet garni during the 45 minute simmering, then pull it out when the soup is done.
Add the kale to the simmering soup, and continue to simmer for another until the kale is tender, 10-20 minutes. Remove the bouquet garni, taste and adjust salt, add a generous amount of freshly ground pepper and serve.
If there are any leftovers, the barley will swell and absorb liquid, so you will have to add more when you reheat it. Top with a little bit of parmesan or aged gouda for a whole new level of yummy.

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