Mushroom Barley Soup, No a Stew Actually….

There is a joke that goes round the intertubes about the dog that says everything is his favourite while the cat stews and schemes counting the days of captivity.  I’m starting to feel like the cat counting the days hanging out in bed or the on the couch due to this stubborn cold.  Our two dogs and cat are enjoying it as they get to keep me company curled up beside me with the occasional belly rub.

My husband has been wonderful taking care of me.  On Sunday he made me a delicious parsnip curry soup to help with my sore throat.  For dinner he made us his mac n cheese with fresh bread.

We’ve been trying all sorts of remedies with our dishes.  Even though the spicy thai curry was delicious the cold stuck.  So on Friday I thought I’d try mushroom barley soup.  When I was a child we would pass through Connecticut for our various road trips.  Off of exit 65 on the I84 was Rein’s New York Style Deli.  The best cheesecake for miles around.  We would stop there no matter the time for a snack or a meal.  My dad would order the mushroom barley soup.  A very tasty soup.

I’ve never made this before and didn’t have a recipe but I knew the flavours I wanted.  I have also never cooked with barley so I was winging it a bit.

Because this was for just the two of us I didn’t make a ton so the measurements are for about 3 portions.  To prep I sliced several mushrooms and chopped a couple of cloves of garlic and half an onion.  In a saucepan melt a couple of tablespoons of butter and then toss in the mushrooms to brown.

Mushroom barley 1 2014

Add the garlic and onion as well as some fresh thyme to saute with the mushrooms.

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Here is where the experiment with the barley came into play.  I knew as it cooked it would soak up the liquid like risotto but wasn’t sure how much.  I did up 4 cups of veg bouillon to 3/4 cups of barley.  In hindsight I probably should have done 7 or 8 cups.  It was at this point the dish went from being a soup to a stew.

Mushroom barley 3 2014 Mushroom barley 4 2014

Bring to a boil then simmer for about 40 minutes.  While simmering I added a splash of sherry and salt and pepper to taste.

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Serve with cheesy toast.  In this case I used jarlsberg.  Even though it wasn’t a soup it was a very tasty dish.  And while it didn’t evict the cold I will definitely make this again.  🙂

Steak and Mushroom Stew

I love stews.  When the days get shorter and the layers are put on I love stick to your ribs food.  I also love stout.  🙂  The fact we named our two dogs Guinness and Murphy is an indication of how we love a bit of stout.  And since they have the colouring of stout it was a perfect match!  The only complaint I have with the Murphy’s imported here is that they do an American pint so we are short changed 4 oz!  And we have real pint glasses too.

This is a relatively easy stew to make.  You can make it ahead of time or an hour or so before you eat.  You need time for it to cook the potatoes and get the meat tender.

Chop up the onions, garlic, potatoes, and mushrooms and set aside.

I bought some stewing steak cubes for this.  What ever meat you buy cut into small cubes.  I like them to be bite size so it is easy to eat with a spoon.  Then dredge in flour.

First I apologize for the quality of this photo, didn’t realise that it was blurry!  Saute in olive oil to brown.  Add some salt and pepper. Then add in the onions, garlic, and mushrooms and saute for a few minutes.  In the meantime, boil water for the broth.

For the broth I use the veg bouillon again.  I made about 4 cups.  Now I did make a critical mistake.  I didn’t take into account how much the stew would reduce so I didn’t adjust the amount of bouillon I put in the water.  So the stew came out salty.  Even for me.  So keep in mind where you want the flavour to be after reducing the liquid.

As it simmers I put in about a cup of Murphy’s Stout.  Simmer until ready to serve.

The flavours behind the saltiness were quite good.  So I’ll know better next time!