Krupnik - mushroom and barley soup

A mainstay of Polish Jewish cooking.


Wild mushrooms were foraged in autumn, then dried in soups and stews over the long, cold winter. Dried mushrooms add a wonderful flavour. If unavailable, use a handful of fresh shiitake or other wild mushrooms.

Recipe adapted from To Life! Healthy Jewish Food by Judi Rose and Dr Jackie Rose


  • Soak the dried mushrooms in boiling water for 20 minutes.
  • Line a sieve with paper towel and set it over a bowl/jug. Add the mushrooms to the sieve and strain the liquid into the jug. Remove the paper towel and rinse the mushrooms under running water to remove any remaining grit. Then add them to the liquid in the jug. Cover the pearl barley with boiling water.
  • Finely chop the onion, then cook it in 1 tbsp of the oil and a pinch of salt in a large soup pan, covered for the first 5 minutes, until soft and golden – 8-10 minutes.
  • While the onion cooks, peel the carrot, trim the leek then chop both finely. Drain the barley. Add the vegetables and barley to the pan with the stock, parsley, bay leaf and the dried mushrooms with their strained soaking liquid. Cover and simmer until the barley is soft – 10 minutes for quick-cook barley and 40-50 minutes for regular barley.
  • While the soup is cooking, slice the fresh mushrooms thinly and sauté them with the remaining oil in a large frying pan until a rich brown. Add them to the soup with the dill and seasonings. Leave to mature for several hours or overnight, then remove the parsley (don’t worry about the bay leaf). Or freeze until needed.
  • To serve, reheat until bubbling. If the soup has thickened too much on standing, add some more stock or boiling water. If previously frozen, add a handful of snipped dill to perk up the flavour.

A handful dried wild mushrooms

125g pearl barley or quick-cook barley

1 large onion

2 tbsp olive oil

1 large carrot

1 medium leek

2 litres vegetable or chicken stock

4 sprigs parsley

4 sprigs snipped fresh dill or 1 tsp dried dill

1 bay leaf

300g chestnut mushrooms

½ tsp fine sea salt

Generous pinch white pepper

10 grinds black pepper

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