Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Mushroom Power (Updated with a Recipe)

Carol makes great use of mushrooms in her cooking, and makes a soup in which they fabulously enrich the flavor. (See below)

Leslie Baumann in the Herald this morning writes about the power of mushrooms. As some of my North Georgia ancestral kin might have said, "Mushrooms are good for what ails ya."

Quick-Cooking Mushroom-Barley Soup

Prep: about 15 minutes
Cooking: 15-25 minutes

1-tablespoon olive or canola oil

1½ cups coarsely chopped onions

1½ teaspoons minced garlic

6 cups boiling water

¼ cup tomato paste

3 tablespoons instant vegetable stock powder. (As an alternative Carol uses 11/2 tablespoons of Vogue Instant Vege Base and 11/2 tablespoons of Better than Bouillon Vegetable Base)

Generous ½ cp quick-cooking barley

8 oz. baby Bella mushrooms

3 large carrots, trimmed and cut into ¼-inch slices

2 teaspoons dried dill

½ teaspoon salt, or to taste

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

In a large soup pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Sauté the onions and garlic for 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add the boiling water, tomato paste, stock powder, barley, mushrooms, carrots, celery, 2 teaspoons dill, the thyme, and salt. Stir well and bring to a boil. Cover, lower the heat, and simmer for 5 minutes. Taste and add up to 1 teaspoon more dill if you like. Cover and simmer until the vegetables and barley are tender, about 15 more minutes. If you wish, enhance the flavor with either sherry or balsamic vinegar, and add black pepper to taste.

-Sass, Lorna Sass’ Short-Cut Vegetarian – Great Taste in No Time (William Morrow 1997), p. 56, with modifications by Carol Stokes.

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