Friday, December 19, 2008

Mushroom-Barley Soup with Kale

This is what you need for those between-party days during the holiday season. These are days when your meals are not comprised of hors d'oeuvres, cocktails and cookies. No, these are the days when you have the luxury of cooking a simple, healthy homemade meal to get your body rested and ready for the next festivity.

The kale gets a head start in the pot before quick-cooking barley is added. In the meantime, I saute a whole lot of mushrooms and add them to the soup at the very end. This helps maintain their texture and flavor--mushrooms really don't benefit from being simmered for any length of time. It's as simple as that.

And just in case you are on the Christmas-Cookie Diet, there was a great article in the New York Times on Wednesday about how to handle your butter for better baking. There are some great tips, so check it out!

Mushroom-Barley Soup with Kale
You could certainly throw in meat or beans to add some protein. Try chicken or crumbled turkey sausage.

Serves 4

2 Tbs. olive oil, divided
1 onion, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 cloves garlic, chopped
Pinch of chili flakes, or to taste
4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
2 cups water
12 oz. chopped kale
1 heaping cup quick-cooking barley
8 oz. white mushrooms, sliced
8 oz. portobello caps, sliced and chopped into bite-size pieces
2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice

In a Dutch oven or large saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil on medium-high. Add the onion, season with salt and pepper, and cook until tender and browned. Add garlic and chili flakes and cook 1 minute.

Add the broth and water. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low and add the kale. Cover and simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the barley, cover and cook 15 minutes or until barley is tender. (If the package directions call for a longer or shorter cooking time for your barley, adjust accordingly.)

Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and cook until they release their liquid, stirring often. Raise the heat to high and continue cooking until liquid evaporates and mushrooms are tender and lightly browned. When barley is finished cooking, add the mushrooms. Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste.


Kalyn said...

I love everything in this soup!

Mallika said...

It is getting to the guilty time of repentance for that Cookie Diet! Have a great New year.

The Food Hunter said...

Soup looks great.

Claudia said...

This was just the best soup ever! I made it Sunday night and just ate the rest for my lunch. I didn't have vegetable broth but made some beef stock and added a few cups of mushroom stock I had. Real comfort food.

Hillary said...

What a perfect winter soup! I don't think I'd change anything in this recipe...

Julie said...

Kalyn: Ha--me too! Kale is underrated.
Mallika: exactly.
Food Hunter: thanks!
Claudia: Thanks for letting me know how it turned out! I'm glad you liked it. I'm sure your stock was delish!
Hillary: Thanks!

Mir said...

Oh, I'm loving this recipe. I adore kale in soup.

I'm looking to add a vegetarian protein, though... and I'm thinking... garbanzos? Does that sound like it would "go" or do you have a different bean suggestion?

Julie said...

Mir: absolutely, garbanzos would be great! Did I mention in the blog I almost added kidney beans, but I didn't b/c I thought it looked really hearty as is? Anyway, it's a great idea...enjoy! And thanks for your question.

mug holder said...

Can't wait to try this one, I'll be subbing frozen spinach though... will try some lentils and report back. Boy that's making me hungry just thinking about it... :)

Mark Scarbrough said...

I was looking for something to make for dinner tomorrow night while Bruce is off teaching knitting--and since the temp here is expected to be (no lie) 10 below (arg!!!!!!), I'm going to make this kale soup. Lovely, lovely. (Except, OK, I may toss a sausage in--because, well, how can I eat dinner without harming a pig?)

Essentials said...

I wonder how this would taste with bulgur subbed for barley?