As for the mushy mushrooms, they turned out more like a barley risotto. Not that I'm complaining - it was still really tasty and had texture. If you've got a slow cooker, I'd definitely recommend it. I've written it up in metric, but the measurements were actually in ounces.Two-Mushroom Barley Soup from 'Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker' by Robin Robertson
30g Dried mushrooms (I used shitake where the recipe recommends porcini)
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped (I'm not sure about yellow onions, I used a brown one)
1 large carrot, chopped
1 celery rib, chopped (I used a couple. I may explain later)
1 Cup pearl barley
225g white mushrooms, sliced
6 Cups vegetable stock (mine was homemade, also from the slow cooker)
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
salt and pepper
2 Tablespoons minced fresh chives (I didn't have any)
1. Place the dried mushrooms in a heatproof measuring cup and cover with hot water. Let sit until softened. Drain, straining and reserving 1/2 Cup of the liquid, thinly slice the mushrooms, and set aside.
2. Heat the oil in a small skillet (frying pan, aussies) over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot and celery, cover, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
3. Transfer the cooked vegetables to the slow cooker. Add everything except the chives and season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours. Taste to adjust seasonings before serving. If a thinner soup is desired, add more stock (I may have missed that bit).
4. Serve, garnished with the chives.