There are so many things I could tell you about how life has changed recently (and I do tell you about these things a lot). One of those changes is that I seem to not end up here as often. I had every intention of showing back up last week with a post about soup (or pasta…that one is still in the queue as well), but it obviously didn’t happen.
The other thing that has changed with having Evelyn around is meal planning and dinner cooking. I knew that it would, but at the same time I wasn’t sure exactly how it would change until it happened. Generally it has been pretty manageable to keep making dinner most nights. Gerrit is usually home in time to keep Evelyn entertained for 20 to 30 minutes while I make dinner. But that’s the thing that has changed: I need dinner to only take me 20-30 minutes. It can take longer to cook (like chicken in the oven or soup simmering on the stove), but if I want to get anything else done in the evenings (or ever in life it seems) I need my hands-on time for dinner to be as minimal as possible.
Mushroom barley soup takes about 20 minutes for prep (depending on fast you can clean and cut your mushrooms…which I seem excruciatingly slow at sometimes) and then it just simmers on the stove for 20-30 minutes while you go do something else. Which is exactly what I need these days when I usually need to feed Evelyn in the time dinner is getting ready and I’d like to squeeze in a workout or maybe some blog work, and usually the dishwasher needs to be unloaded.
And I say it’s what I need “these days” as if that is going to change. But I’m pretty sure this is my life now. No more fussy dinners with dishes all over the kitchen, which is good for all of us I think.
I've made it pretty well known that I am not a big soup person, but this one is so basic it's hard not to like it. I'm sure there is a lot you could add here--onions and garlic would probably add a lot of flavor. But I love how basic this soup is. I like to let it reduce a lot so that the barley feel substantial in the broth, but you can of course reduce the soup to your taste.
- Olive oil
- 16 oz. mushrooms, cleaned a cut into small pieces
- 2 medium sized carrots, peeled and sliced into bite size pieces
- Kosher salt
- 3/4 cup pearled barley
- 6 cups water
- 1 bay leaf
- In a large soup pot, heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat. When the oil is hot, add the mushrooms and carrots along with a good pinch of salt and pepper. Saute, stirring occasionally, until browned (until the mushrooms have released their juices and the juices have mostly evaporated), about 10 minutes.
- Add the barley and cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes.
- Add the water and the bay leaf along with a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer the soup for 20 to 30 minutes, until the barley is tender and the broth is reduced to your liking. Taste and add more salt and pepper as needed. Remove the bay leaf and serve warm.
adapted from How to Cook Everything