Saturday, October 2, 2010

Mushroom barley lentil stew recipe

I'd been wanting to try this one out for a while as it looked intriguing but I had to wait until my husband was going out for the evening as he's not keen on mushrooms.

I will warn you, even for someone who had much better food photography skills than me (so, that would be practically everyone then), this would be a tough one to make pretty. Forgive the 70's decor effect and please believe me this one is worth trying.

Ingredients for 4 as main course or 8 as a side:

2L/quarts vegetable stock (make with 3 cubes)
250 g/2 cups, sliced chestnut mushrooms
20g/1 oz dried mushrooms - I used ceps
150g or 3/4 cup dried pearl barley
150g or 3/4 cup green or puy lentils
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 bay leaves
1 tsp dried thyme
good grinding black pepper
salt, to taste


Dump in all ingredients and cook on High for 4-6 hours or Low for 10-12.


I wasn't sure what to expect with this. I thought it might be a bit like my barley risotto in texture but it was sloppier. I think the clue should have been in the "stew" part of the title. It made bog-standard chestnut mushrooms taste like wild mushrooms and the texture was silky but with a nice bite to it, almost like a thick mushroom soup. I mixed it with some natural Greek yoghurt which I'd initially splodged on top as a garnish and it was lovely. I couldn't help thinking though it lacked something - maybe a contrasting element like some petit pois added at the end or maybe lots more fresh thyme or  parsley. I was too wimp to go into the garden and get that as it was chucking it down out there. I put it down to being in a grumpy mood and moved on. I think if I make it again I might push it either towards the soup end of the spectrum or the risotto end. At the end of the day, this was pretty good but I just don't like stew much!

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