Every year I just can’t wait for the holiday season to arrive. I can’t wait for the fun, the festivities, the decorations, the time with family and friends, and, of course, the food. The delicious, decadent, homemade food. The cookies, the turkey, the candy, the beverages. I love it all. But man will it get to be too much by the end of the season. We’ve still got New Year’s to come and I am already looking forward to the proverbial commitment to healthier eating come January.
In fact, I’ve already started lightening up. I guess it comes with getting older. I just can’t handle all the heavy foods and sweets like I used to. I still love it, I just have to balance it with lighter, healthier meals. Honestly, it’s better for me anyway. And with easy and delicious meals like this soup, lightening up doesn’t have to mean going easy on comfort or flavor. A warm bowl of this soup, a blanket, and a movie–the perfect way to keep the balance during the holidays.
1/2 oz. dried porcini mushrooms, rinsed
1 TBSP olive oil1 medium onion, diced1 medium carrot, diced
1 stalk of celery, diced2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed1 TBSP tomato paste1 lbs. cremini mushrooms, quartered or sliced
1/4 c. sherry5 c. mushroom or vegetable broth½ c. farro or pearl barley, rinsedsalt and black pepper1 TBSP sherry or red wine vinegar
1. Place the dried mushrooms in a small bowl with 1/2 c. boiling water. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, make 5 small holes in the plastic wrap. Set aside 10 minutes to let the mushrooms soften. Use a fork to lift the softened mushrooms out of the liquid. Mince the mushrooms and strain the liquid through a coffee filter to remove grit, reserving the strained liquid.
2. In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions just start to brown around the edges, about 8 minutes. Add garlic and tomato paste; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
3. Add the fresh mushrooms; cook, stirring occasionally, until they release their liquid, 3-5 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high and cook until liquid evaporates and the mushrooms just begin to brown, about 10 minutes. Add the sherry; scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
4. Add the broth, farro, minced reconstituted porcini, the liquid from soaking the mushrooms, 2 teaspoons salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. Bring to a simmer over high heat, then reduce to medium and simmer for about 40 minutes, until the farro is tender. (The soup can be stored at this point for up to 5 days. Heat on the stove over medium heat just before serving.) To serve, stir in the sherry vinegar, add more salt and pepper, to taste, and ladle into bowls. Serves 4 as a main course or 6 as a side.
one year ago: sparkling pepper berry cocktails and chipotle and rosemary roasted nuts
two years ago: “Yellow Bowl” white chocolate snack mix
three years ago: Ashlee’s famous sugar cookies andchocolate candy cane cookies