Sunday, October 17, 2010

Kale, Leeks, Mushroom and Barley Stew

This recipe comes straight from, who have it by way of Bon Apetit from December 2009.

I wish there was a cooking magazine that was actually in tune with seasonal garden vegetables. Even Local Flavors, the popular cookbook by Deborah Madison focusing on farmer's markets and thus, somewhat seasonal cooking, is not really very helpful. The recipes call for too many things that aren't straightforward, or there are several recipes for things that you'd buy in bulk at a farmer's market say, if you lived in California, or a major urban area, but not at the St. Joseph Farmer's Market, good as it is. Things like figs and kumquats.

I suppose a magazine like this would be kind of boring, or limited, but I really wouldn't mind having 20 simple kale recipes in October. Or to be encouraged to bake a new kind of bread and make an apple crisp (or be reminded just to pour some of those peach preserves from September over ice cream for dessert). I now have three excellent kale recipes, given yesterday's soup, a fantastic Kale and White Bean recipe in Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, and the following stew recipe, which tops them all but is also a bit time-consuming. This is enough for me to use all the kale I managed to grow this year.

I made more cheese today, and since this recipe definitely required good bread, I made two loaves of something called "Feather Bread" from the back of the recipe book that came with my cheese making kit. It's bread made with whey and butter (the whey is a biproduct of making cheese). It was a good, homey meal, especially since everything in the stew was local except for the garlic, chicken broth and barley. (I need to find a local source of garlic, which I know are out there, because I noticed at the grocery store yesterday that the garlic comes from China!!)

Kale, Leek, Mushroom and Barley Stew

1 tablespoon olive oil, divided (I used local sunflower oil.)

1 1/2 cups chopped leeks (about 2 small stalks; white and pale green parts only) (garden!)
1 8-ounce container sliced crimini (baby bella) mushrooms (local Forest Mushrooms)
4 garlic cloves, pressed (China, boo)
2 1/4 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary (garden!)
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice (canned from the garden)
1 cup pearl barley (Quaker brand, boo)
4 cups (or more) vegetable broth (I used chicken broth, which was very yummy.)
1 bunch kale (about 8 ounces), trimmed, center stalks removed, leaves coarsely chopped (about 8 cups packed) (garden!)

Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add leeks; sprinkle with salt and pepper and sauté until leeks begin to soften, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms, garlic, and rosemary; increase heat to medium-high and sauté until mushrooms soften and begin to brown, stirring often, about 7 minutes. Add tomatoes with juice; stir 1 minute. Add barley and 4 cups broth; bring to boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until barley is almost tender, about 20 minutes. Add kale; stir until wilted, about 1 minute. Cover and simmer until kale and barley are tender, adding more broth by 1/4 cupfuls as needed for desired stew consistency, about 10 minutes.  (Again, the garden kale is not as sturdy as store-bought kale. I increased the cooking on the barley and had the kale in there for only 5 minutes. A little white wine would also work well in this recipe, once the broth runs out...)

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