Mushroom and Barley Soup
Boil 1 cup of the water, remove from heat, and soak the dried shiitakes in it for 15 to 30 minutes. Meanwhile, slice the fresh mushrooms and chop the onions, carrots, and celery; then chop the soaked mushrooms, reserving the soaking liquid.
In a soup pot, heat the oil. Add the fresh mushrooms and the onion, sautéing on medium for 8 minutes.
Add the broth, the remaining water, carrots, celery, soaked mushrooms, and their soaking liquid. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 45 minutes.
Add the barley, bay leaf, thyme, and pepper, simmering for another 40 minutes. Discard the bay leaf, salt to taste, and serve.
The blend of diced onions, carrots, and celery commonly used as a flavor base for soups is called a mirepoix.