- Portion size 6 servings
Place dried mushrooms in small bowl; pour in 1 cup (250 mL) boiling water. Let stand for 20 minutes or until softened. Strain through cheesecloth lined sieve, reserving liquid. If using shiitakes, cut off tough stem end. Slice mushrooms into thin strips; set aside.
Meanwhile, peel carrots. On cutting board and using sharp chef's knife, slice carrots diagonally; set aside. Using damp cloth or paper towel, wipe button mushroom caps clean. Cut off tough stem ends; slice caps thickly.
In large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat; cook onions and garlic, stirring often, for 5 minutes or until softened. Add carrots and dried and button mushrooms; cook, stirring often, for 15 to 20 minutes or until mushrooms are lightly browned and liquid is evaporated.
Stir in thyme, sage, pepper and salt. Stir in tomato paste, soy sauce, vinegar and reserved soaking liquid. Add barley; cook, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and barley is well coated.
Add stock and water; bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 50 minutes. Uncover and cook for 20 minutes or until slightly thickened. (Soup can be prepared to this point and refrigerated in airtight container for up to 2 days; reheat gently, adding up to 1/2 cup/125 mL more water to thin if desired.)
Trim spinach; flatten and stack leaves with stems all at one end. Starting at long side, tightly roll up; using sharp chef's knife, slice crosswise into 1/2-inch (1 cm) wide strips. Stir into soup; cover and cook for 3 minutes or until wilted.