Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Add the barley and cook to just shy of tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Drain in a sieve
and run under cold water, then drain
Put the dried porcini mushrooms in a small saucepan
with about 2 cups water. Bring to a low boil, then simmer
until tender. Transfer the mushrooms with a slotted spoon to a food processor. Pour in all but the last few spoonfuls of the cooking liquid (grit from the mushrooms may settle there). Puree until smooth.
Heat the EVOO in a large Dutch oven
over medium-high heat. Add the portobello mushrooms
and cook until browned. Add the thyme
, celery and carrots
and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the vegetables are tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Deglaze
with the sherry
, stirring and scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon. Stir in the stock, porcini puree and Roasted Garlic Paste.
Meanwhile, bring the steak to room temperature and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Drizzle the steak with EVOO, then cook for 7 to 8 minutes, turning once. Let rest on a cutting board for 10 minutes, then thinly slice and cut into bite-size pieces. Dress
with the Worcestershire sauce
Stir the parsley and barley into the soup
, then ladle into shallow bowls. Arrange the steak on top of the soup.
Cook's Notes: The cooked barley can be refrigerated in a resealable plastic bag until ready to serve the soup. The soup, without the barley and steak, can be refrigerated for a make-ahead meal. Reheat over medium heat.