I use dried Asian mushrooms when I don't have fresh ones. Look for those that are packaged without sulfites - these are the darker, unbleached version - and when you're ready to soup them, soak them in boiling water for 20 minutes or so, cut off the stems, and strain the soaking water to add with the stock. They'll double in size.
mushroom soup, creamy or beefed and barleyed1 TBSP butter
1 TBSP olive oil
1 lb shiitake or wild mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
5 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper
1/2 tsp dried thyme or a few sprigs fresh
flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
green onion, chopped sloppily
For creamy mushroom:
4 qts chicken stock
1/2 cup cream or yogurt
For beef and barley:
2 lbs beef chuck, cut into cubes
4 qts beef stock
1/2 cup dry barley (pearled or not)
Melt the butter and oil in a large soup pot.
For the beef and barley variety, add the chuck and sauté until evenly browned. For the creamy variety, skip this step.
Add the mushrooms and cook them in one uncrowded layer like Julia Child does so that some moisture can evaporate, then add the garlic and sauté a minute more but don't let the garlic brown.
Add the salt and pepper, thyme, barley if you're using it, and whichever variety of stock you're using and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer for 30-40 minutes or until it begins to smell awesome. If your soup begins to cook away, add more stock or water. Check the seasonings near the end of the cooking and add salt if you need it.
For the creamy variety, remove from the heat and blend just a little bit with a stick blender, then stir in the cream or yogurt. For the beef and barley variety, skip this step.
Serve as is or over rice, topped with the parsley and onions.
Doh! Apologies to anyone who tried to make this soup with 1 qt of stock, as originally posted. That's just silly, because everyone knows you make soup a gallon at a time.