Cold Snap Soup to the Rescue

Wow…..we are in a long and chilly cold snap in most of Canada. Some parts of our beautiful country are in the deep freeze.

I spoke to a friend yesterday who’s daughter lives up north of Edmonton and she is in -50’s. Her car won’t start and there is nothing you can do outside without risking frost bite on your exposed skin of your cheeks, hands or forehead. She must absolutely wrap herself up like a “mummy” to go outside at all.

Being cosy inside our homes with the furnace blaring and/or the fireplace on, an extra sweater and some warm slippers is the way this weekend is going to play out.

There are certain kinds of foods that just go well with that kind of weather and that would be stews, chiles and soups.

Here I will share with you a delicious soup recipe full of nutrition, vegetarian and oh so tasty. It hearty flavor will warm your insides and help to keep you from feeling the chill.

It’s a soup full of nutrition. The mushrooms provide a variety of nutrients such as vitamin D, B Vitamins, Calcium, fiber, iron, potassium, vitamin C, many minerals. The barley provides depth of flavor to the soup while also providing manganese, fiber, selenium, copper, B1, magnesium and more.

I have doubled the recipe. I always like to have extra soup to freeze for a quick meal at a later date.

MUSHROOM BARLEY SOUP (all of my ingredients are organic)

2 ounces of dried porcini mushrooms

4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 pounds of a mushroom blend. You can use shiitake, cremini, portobello, and button mushrooms, stemmed and chopped

6 medium carrots sliced

2 cups pearl barley

Himalayan salt and fresh ground black pepper

2 bay leaves

6 cups of mushroom stock (I use the Pacific brand of mushroom stock)

2 tbsp soy or Tamari sauce

First of all you need to reconstitute the porcini mushrooms in 6 cups of boiling water from the kettle. Put them in a medium bowl and let them soak in the water until plumped up.

Put olive oil in a large stock pot over medium high heat and once hot, add all of the fresh mushrooms (not porcini yet) and carrots. Stir occasionally, sautéing until the begin to brown a bit. Add the barley and continue to stir for a about 10 minutes so the barley can begin to brown.

Add your salt and pepper, stirring it all in and turn the heat off.

Back to your soaking porcini mushrooms, now that they are soft, strain them but keep the soaking liquid. Sort through the mushrooms and remove any hard pieces. Chop up the remaining softened porcini.

Turn the heat to medium on your soup pot again and add the porcini pieces, stirring to incorporate. Cook for about a minute.

Add the bay leaves, the porcini soaking water and the 6 cups of mushroom stock. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover the pot and simmer until the barley is tender, about 30 minutes.

Add the soy sauce or tamari sauce now and more salt and pepper to taste.

That’s it. Simple, but oh so warming on this cold winter day.

Stay warm. Stay nourished. Spring is on it’s way.

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