Shitake mushroom, vegetable & barley soup

Wheat, dairy free: Shitake mushrooms strengthen, detoxify and restore. Renowned as immune boosters with antiviral and antitumour properties, they are rich in vitamin D, B12 and protein. Barley has a wonderfully soluble fibre and is rich in minerals such as magnesium. It strengthens the intestines and blood, benefits the gall bladder and nerves.


8 dried shitake mushrooms 1/2 cup barley (soaked overnight in 3 cups water with 1 teaspoon yoghurt, whey or buttermilk) 1 x 5 cm piece kombu sea vegetable 15 ml tamari 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme 7 - 8 cups stock or water 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 1 medium onion - finely diced 2 cloves garlic - finely diced/ crushed 2 - 3 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only pinch dried basil sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste 2 medium size carrots, skins on - finely diced 1/2 medium size orange sweet potato, peeled - finely diced 1 small - medium swede, peeled - finely diced 1 medium or 2 small parsnip - peeled, woody centre removed if very large or old - finely diced 1 stick celery - finely diced Handful of parsley - finely chopped Mirrin - only if required, approx 1 - 2 teaspoons


Add the crumbled (or roughly broken) mushrooms, drained barley, kombu, tamari, dried thyme and 7 cups stock or water to 24 or 26cm pot. Partly cover and cook over a simmer for 20 mins.

Add the oil, onion, garlic, fresh thyme, dried basil, salt and pepper to a frying pan and cook over a gentle heat for approx 5 - 8 mins, or until only slightly blushed with colour. Add this to the soup together with all the vegetables. Partly cover and cook for 45 mins over a gentle simmer. Check if more liquid is required after this time, then cook for another 15 mins or until the barley is soft. Check for taste - you may need a touch of mirrin (especially if you have no parsnip in the soup). Add the parsley and serve.


Both barley and lamb are said to enhance Qi, the lifeforce and initiator of all motion and heat. Lamb is also high in B vitamins such as niacin, riboflavin and B12 - all essential for good health. Replace the mushrooms with 2 mutton shanks, and omit the kombu. Addition: 1 teaspoon white wine or apple cider vinegar

Add the shanks to the soup pot and cook over a very, very gentle heat until some of the fat renders out. Add the onion, garlic, fresh thyme, dried basil, salt and pepper to the pot and cook over a very gentle heat for approx 10 mins - do not allow them to brown or burn, but to very lightly colour. Add 7 cups stock, wine, partly cover and cook over a moderate to gentle heat for approx 1 hour. Remove any scum. Add the drained barley and vegetables, partly cover and cook at a gentle simmer for 45 mins. Check if extra liquid is required and cook until the barley is soft, another 10 - 15 mins.

Remove the shanks and cut meat from bone, add this back to the soup and discard the bones. Add parsley, check for taste (salt and pepper) and serve.

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