To my happy surprise, Paul Lagreze was at the farmers market again this past weekend with an array of mushrooms. In addition to his usual shiitakes, he had a good supply of oyster mushrooms and red caps, a huge and very tender mushroom with a flavor like that of porcini. Red caps and shiitakes form the flavor base of this stew, which is filled out with other fall vegetables, lentils, and local barley (available from Four Star Farms, and carried at Green Fields Market). Feel free to use whatever type of mushrooms you can get your hands on.
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1/2 lb flavorful mushrooms, chopped
Several cups stock and/or water (I used beef stock, but veggie would work too)
3/4 brown lentils
3/4 cup barley
1 medium head celery, chopped
6 medium carrots, in rounds
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat a bit of olive oil in a large soup pot. Add the onions and saute for 2-3 minutes over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and saute for another 2-3 minutes. Add some stock and/or water, then the lentils and barley. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer until the lentils and barley are tender (30 minutes or so). Add the celery and carrots and continue to cook until tender. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.
Serves at least 6.