Barley Mushroom Stew

by Hilary

I made this a couple of times and it was a big hit. There’s something about the cooked vegetables that makes it almost have a sweet flavour. Then I discovered grilled cheese sandwiches, which involved a lot less chopping, so I never turned back. My kids don’t like the mushrooms or carrots, so they pick them out. (This is from Mark Bittman’s “How to Cook Everything Vegetarian.”)

1/2 cup dried porcini mushrooms
2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup onion, chopped
1 cup carrots, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
3 red potatoes, peeled and cut into eighths, approx. 2 cups
8 whole garlic cloves, peeled
2 cups mushrooms, sliced
1/3 cup pearled barley
½ tsp dried thyme
Salt and fresh pepper to taste
3 cups vegetable stock

Makes 4 servings.

1. Add hot water to cover porcini; set aside.
2. Heat oil on medium heat in a large pot; add onion, carrot, celery, potatoes and garlic.
3. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables brown, about 12 minutes.
4. Drain porcini, reserving liquid and chop. Add fresh and reconstituted dry mushrooms; cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
5. Add barley and cook, stirring until shiny and coated. Stir in thyme, salt and pepper.
6. Add veg broth to porcini soaking liquid to make three cups; add to stew.
7. Bring to a boil over medium heta; turn heat down so stew barely bubbles. Cover and cook 30 minutes, stirring once or twice.

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