A question about a recipe: Mushroom Barley Soup

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.

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Recipe question for: Mushroom Barley Soup

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ChefJune
ChefJune January 20, 2014

Carrots add a similar sweetness to the porky taste of pancetta.

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Trena Heinrich
Trena Heinrich January 20, 2014

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.

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HalfPint
HalfPint January 20, 2014

Or you can add a little parm reg or simmer the rind for that extra bit of richness

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CelliSean
CelliSean January 21, 2014

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.

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LobsterBrieAvocadoBreath

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.

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