Saturday, October 24, 2009

Grainy Craving

Lately I've had a craving for barley. I don't know why, but I think it has to do with its wholesome and filling qualities and the fact that the weather has been so dreary lately. So today I cooked up a batch of soup to get some barley on my menu. What follows is a summary of the project. The last time I posted a soup "someone" on facebook tried to cast doubt on whether it was home-made or canned ;)

Here it is! Three-quarters of a cup of organic barley. Yum!

And it's co-star in this dish is none other than a pound of awesome oyster mushrooms from the Westside Community Market. They will be sliced for their appearance in this dish.

I read about toasting barley before cooking with it to bring out its flavor so I gave it a try. The barley went on a sheet in a 350 degree F oven for five minutes. It made the kitchen smell great.

Next I lightly sauteed 1 1/2 cups of diced onion and 3/4 cup diced carrot in 1/8 cup of olive oil. Sorry if the day-glo carrots are burning your eyes. Ironic, isn't it?

Once the onions are translucent, throw in the sliced mushrooms and cook them for a few minutes. Stir frequently.

Next, add six cups of a low-fat chicken stock...

...and the toasted barley!

Bring the pot to a boil and then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer gently for fifty minutes to an hour. When the barley is tender, taste the soup and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Then enjoy, preferably in the company of souper friends and family.

A couple concluding notes--The recipe called for celery but I didn't have any so I just left it out. The finished soup is almost a little "too umami" but it's good. I wonder if the celery would have brightened it some and taken the savoriness down a notch. I'm considering adding a little lemon juice to that end, but I'm hesitant to mess with what is a pretty good soup as it is.

2 Responses:

Michigoose said...

Yum! Maybe reading about my brother's barley acreage in Montana inspired you???

Definitely soup time....I don't know about oyster mushrooms as they are about the only ones I don't like...maybe I'll use portobello for a more meatier taste instead, but I'm definitely going to make this!

Shady Character said...

I already had barley on the mind when you posted that, Lisa. But I think it helped push me along to actually do something about it.