Released in February is The Vegetarian Kitchen Table Cookbook, a creative vegetarian cookbook. Think french and Italian style cooking and not hippy fare. Sophisticated recipes abound although there is plenty of simple “peasant” recipes as well, for hearty rustic meals. I have a huge container of organic Pearled Barley that was sitting and staring at me and while going through the cookbook I saw a recipe for soup on page 147. Fair warning unless you can get the dried mushrooms frugally it isn’t a cheap recipe. On a whim I priced them at our local Safeway, they were $5.99 for 1 ounce. Ouch considering the recipe calls for 3 ounces! So I went to Costco and picked up a 6 ounce container of Shiitakes for $6.49 (look in the produce department). That made the recipe affordable. As a bonus the mushrooms were sliced making my job easier.
I had to add more liquid as the soup was too dry. It may have been my barley though. I didn’t use “quick-cooking” but rather the type that needs a full hour to cook. So I heated up a couple of cups broth and that worked fine. It was a very thick soup, had I let it keep cooking I could have had barley risotto So if one likes a thin soup, add more broth!
Barley Mushroom Soup (From Page 147, slightly adapted)
3 ounces dried sliced mushrooms (used shiitakes)
6 cups water
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2/3 cup celery, chopped
1 small onion, peeled and chopped
½ cup carrot, peeled and chopped
1 cup pearl barley
2 cups lower sodium vegetable broth
2 Tbsp dried or fresh parsley
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
In a large saucepan add the mushrooms and water, bring to a boil. Take off the heat, cove tightly and let sit for 30 minutes. Remove the mushrooms with a slotted spoon and transfer to a bowl. Strain the broth through a very fine wire mesh sieve.
In a large/tall pot heat over medium-high, add the oil and sauté celery, onion and carrot for about 5 minutes, or until softened and browned.
Spread the barley out and pick over, making sure there is no debris in it. Rinse well in a sieve and shake dry. Add to the pot and stir until well coated. Stir in the mushroom liquid and ¼ tsp each salt and pepper, bring to a boil. Turn to medium-low, cover and let simmer for 20 minutes.
Finely chop the mushrooms and add to the pot along with 2 cups boiling vegetable broth. Simmer covered for 20 to 40 more minutes, until the barley is tender (it will depend on your type of barley used)
Stir in the parsley and season as desired.
Serves 4 to 6.
FTC Disclaimer: We received a copy of the book for potential review.