Note: This soup can be cooled, poured into a covered container, and kept in the refrigerator for up to four days or frozen for a month (if packed airtight).
Bloody Mary mix:
2 ounces dried mushrooms (such as morels, porcini, shitakes, and chanterelles)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter or extra virgin olive oil
1 cup pearl barley
1 stalk celery, cut into ¼-inch dice
1 medium leek (white part only), split lengthwise, cut into ¼-inch slices
1 medium onion, cut into ¼-inch dice
1 medium carrot, cut into ¼-inch dice
1 medium turnip, cut into ¼-inch dice
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
6 sage leaves, finely chopped (reserve stems for the herb sachet)
¾ pound assorted fresh mushrooms, trimmed, cleaned, and cut in half
3½ quarts unsalted vegetable stock
Herb sachet (6 reserved sage stems, 4 sprigs Italian parsley, 2 sprigs thyme, 1 bay leaf, ¼ teaspoon fennel seeds, ¼ teaspoon coriander seeds, and ¼ teaspoon black peppercorns)
Freshly ground white pepper
Put the dried mushrooms in a bowl and pour a pint of warm water over them. Let the mushrooms soak for at least 30 minutes. Remove the mushrooms from the water and squeeze out excess moisture; discard the soaking liquid. Warm one tablespoon of the butter in a small sauté pan over medium heat and add the barley. Cook the barley, stirring regularly, for about 5 minutes, or until the grains are lightly toasted. Remove pan from the heat and set the barley aside. Warm the remaining two tablespoons butter in a stockpot over medium heat. Add the celery, leek, onion, carrot, turnip, garlic, and salt, and cook until the vegetables soften, about 10 minutes. Add the sage and add fresh and reconstituted mushrooms. Season with salt to taste and continue to cook until the mushrooms release their moisture. Stir in three quarts of the stock and toss in the herb sachet and barley. Bring the soup to a boil, reduce heat until simmering gently, and cook until the barley is tender and the broth is thoroughly infused, about 1 hour and 10 minutes. (The soup can be cooled and refrigerated at this point.) Add remaining two cups broth and bring soup to a boil. Season to taste and discard the herb sachet.
Ladle the soup into warm bowls.
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