I have a question about the recipe "Mushroom Barley Soup" from Berna. This recipe calls for pancetta, but I would like to make it vegitarian. I will subsitute veggie broth, but what would be a good subsitute for the pancetta.
Carrots add a similar sweetness to the porky taste of pancetta.
Isgerman - I would just leave out the pancetta, it's only 2 oz. The recipe already has a lot of layers of flavor and since I eat a lot of vegetarian meals I wouldn't miss it and suspect you won't either. If you want to add something extra why not add croutons just before serving.
Or you can add a little parm reg or simmer the rind for that extra bit of richness
I would use a mushroom broth rather than a general veggie. If you must have a substitute for the pancetta, I'd probably add a quarter cup of chopped kalamata or manzanilla olives.
I think the thing I am aiming for in transitioning this recipe to a vegetarian option is finding something that creates a substantive "base" similar to the way the pancetta behaves: the rendering that (I think mushrooms and onions seem suitable in a hot, slightly oiled pot? garlic---how not to burn?)---leaves flecks and juices to meld with the next layers. I did try a few things recommended here. Something key, might lie in making sure the paste is well caramelized--maybe double the amount too; caramelize some onion/celery to add some depth. This is one of the grandest soups I have come across...so I don't mean to toy with it, but for family members who have vegetarian/vegan diets, the trial and error are well worth the time and tasty inquisitiveness. MMMM-mmmm.