We hollowed out a ten-pound blue Hubbard squash to use as a tureen for the soup.

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Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Place porcini mushrooms in a bowl; add hot water to cover (about 1 1/2 cups). Let stand until mushrooms are soft, 10 minutes.

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  • Meanwhile, melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring often, until soft and translucent. Add thyme, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

  • Stir in barley and cook until it begins to brown and smell sweet.

  • Lift mushrooms out of soaking liquid. Strain liquid through a cheesecloth-lined sieve and set aside. Chop mushrooms coarsely and add to barley mixture. Add 1/2 cup Madeira, raise heat to medium-high, and cook until liquid is nearly evaporated. Reduce heat to medium, add reserved soaking liquid, and cook until liquid is almost completely reduced.

  • Stem Swiss chard. Chop stems into 1/2-inch pieces; add to barley mixture. Chop leaves into 1/2-inch pieces and set aside.

  • Drain tomatoes and add tomato juice to barley along with vegetable stock. Seed and core tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch dice, and set aside. Cut squash in half lengthwise and remove seeds with a spoon. Remove skin and cut flesh into 1/2-inch cubes. Add squash, 1 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon pepper to soup. Let simmer about 50 minutes, skimming foam occasionally. Add chopped tomatoes for last 20 minutes of cooking time.

  • Just before serving, add chopped Swiss chard leaves and remaining 1/2 cup Madeira. Cook until chard is just tender, 2 minutes. Add remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and serve.

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