Sunday, January 24, 2010

Eat Your Lima Beans and Enjoy them!

Today's recipe is an adapted version of this mushroom barley soup. Ironically, I was out of mushrooms and since most working parents don't have dried shiitakes lying around, I was glad the final version was so good. As you can see from the picture it turned out like more of a cross between a stew and a casserole, but that just made it easier for the one year old to scoop it up. It took minutes to make, froze beautifully and was inexpensive to make with ingredients people tend to have on hand.

Mushroom Barley Soup

- serves 10 to 12 -
Adapted from Serious Eats (who adapted it from Arthur Schwartz's Jewish Home Cooking)

  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 2 medium onions, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 1/4 cups barley (1/2 pound)
  • 1 1/2 cup dried baby lima beans
  • 1 1/2 cup split peas (green, yellow, or mixed)
  • 12 cups chicken broth
  • 4 cups (or more) water 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  1. In a 5-quart or larger pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat; sauté the onions until tender and beginning to brown, 8 to 10 minutes.
  2. Add the celery and carrots. Sauté vegetables 3 to 4 minutes more.
  3. Add the barley, lima beans, split peas, broth, and water.
  4. Bring to a boil, then partially cover the pot; reduce heat to low so the soup simmers gently. Cook at a slow, steady simmer for about 1 1/2 hours, until the lima beans and barley are tender and the split peas have dissolved. After about 45 minutes, add the salt and pepper.
  5. At the end of cooking, add a little more water or chicken broth, as necessary, to bring the soup to a thickness you like. Then taste and adjust the salt and pepper. Serve very hot.

Notes: The soup can be kept refrigerated, tightly covered, for several days or frozen for several months. Reheat gently, stirring frequently, thinning it out with water and adding more salt and pepper as needed.

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