Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Barley Soup al Verde with Mushrooms

Call me weird, but I love pearl barley. I had a bag of it from when I used to throw it into every vegetable soup I made. Every veggie in the fridge that seemed appropriate for soup would go into a pot with a big handful of pearl barley. Then I forgot about it for a while, until I saw this recipe, and then I realized I had an onion, mushrooms and a small head of cabbage in the fridge. I picked up a bag of spinach and was ready to go. I love mushrooms and I thought they really helped the soup and gave it a meaty umami flavor. Next time I would probably add the spinach closer to the end of the cooking time - if you put it in near the beginning of the cooking time, like in the recipe, it disintegrates a bit and loses most of its spinachy character. This is not the prettiest of soups, but it makes up for it by tasting good.

Barley Soup al Verde with Mushrooms

Adapted from the Silver Spoon via Dinner Tonight


8 cups stock, boiling (I used some homemade chicken stock and topped it off with some OXO cubes)

1 onion, diced
800g mixed mushrooms (I had 500g chestnut and 300g baby button), quartered
1 small head cabbage (about 1 1/2 cups, sliced)
100g baby leaf spinach
3 dried bay leaves
1 cup pearl barley
grated parmesan (optional)
olive oil


1. Put a large glug of olive oil into a large pot and add onions. Cook over medium heat until onions are translucent. Add mushrooms to the pot and stir, cook for 5 minutes. Add cabbage and spinach and bay leaves to the pot, and then pour stock into pot. Cook for 15 minutes over medium heat.

2. Add pearl barley and cook for an additional 30 minutes, or until barley is tender.

3. Serve with some grated parmesan on top (optional).

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