It’s November – that means soup night! November 10, 2011Posted by Toy Lady in Cook's Illustrated, random stuff, soupe du semaine.
There are winter-ish things we sort of miss during the summer.
And soup night.
We love soup night. When the weather starts getting cold, there’s just something so warm and cozy about a nice bowl of homemade soup, with a hunk of fresh bread, isn’t there?
So now that pretty much every vegetable known to man is in season (hyperbole much?), Cook’s Illustrated published their recipe for Farmhouse Vegetable and Barley Soup.
I like vegetables, and I like barley. I think we have a winner here!
Only . . . the first ingredient is 1/8 ounce of ground dried mushrooms.
We don’t really do fungus.
The fact that I have not one, but two different varieties of dried mushrooms in the cupboard is . . . an anomaly. Yeah, that’s it. It just sort of happened that way.
Here’s the thing.
You know about the whole umami thing, right? It’s all sort of science-y, really, involving glutamates and nucleotides other chemical stuff. It seems that mushrooms, along with soy sauce, tomato paste, and some other stuff, is just loaded with it.
It makes vegetable soup taste hearty- even meaty. Savory.
Oooh. . . . mommy.
We start by sauteeing a couple of diced carrots, some leeks and some celery in butter. And we add a bit of white wine (1/3 cup), soy sauce (2 tsp.) and a couple of teaspoons of salt.
This all gets cooked until the celery is soft and the liquid has evaporated, maybe 10 or 15 minutes.
Then we added a bunch of water – 6 cups! – plus a quart of stock (either chicken or vegetable – I went with chicken), a half cup of pearl barley, 2 teaspoons of the ground mushrooms, a clove of minced garlic, and a bunch of parsley, thyme, and a single bay leaf, all tied together.
Bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Let it cook about half an hour, then add some diced potatoes (a pound or two), a single turnip, diced, and about a quarter of a cabbage, sliced.
At this point, we stopped and stashed the whole thing in the fridge until Peeps got home with his mom.
Honestly, we prefer soup that’s had a chance to set.
You know what I mean, right?
Then, we reheat and simmer until the turnip, et al, are tender – if it’s on the stovetop it’ll be a half hour or so, once it’s hot – the better part of the day if you go the crock-pot route, which is what we did.
Just make sure your potatoes and turnips are soft – nobody wants crunchy turnips in their soup.
Now Cook’s recommends serving the soup with peas, lemon juice, and chopped parsley.
I didn’t bother with the peas, forgot the lemon juice, and stirred the parsley in before reheating.
And you know what? It was still pretty good. I enjoyed it, and Peeps’s mom said she enjoyed it (though she may be been being polite).
Peeps had trouble getting past the turnip. That’s cool. We’re not all cut out for vegetable soup.
But I still like it. A lot.