Friday, January 4, 2013

Soup #1/turkey barley soup with mushrooms

This recipe was adapted and modified from the original found in Williams-Somoma's "Soup" cookbook.
You will need:
3 leeks, coarsely chopped
2 tbs. olive or grape seed oil (we use grape seed)
3 cloves of garlic, minced
4 carrots peeled and chopped
8 oz fresh white button mushrooms chopped
8 oz fresh shitake mushrooms (our grocery store was out, so I subbed in baby bella mushrooms instead)
½ cup dry pearl barley
2 turkey breasts (about 1 ½ pounds)
3 tsp chopped Italian parsley (seriously, I didn't measure this... just chop however much you want to use)
2 tbs. soy sauce
Salt and Pepper 
chicken stock  - the original recipe called for 64oz (2 boxes) but in the end, we added another box because we like it more brothy rather than stew-y. So use your own discretion. We use the boxed chicken stock from Costco. You can also make your own by boiling chicken.

Place a large pot on med-high heat and add oil, garlic, and leeks. Saut̩ for about 5 minutes or until leeks become tender. Add the carrots, button mushrooms and shitake mushrooms (or substitute mushrooms in our case). Saute together for another minute or so Рstir well.
Add the two turkey breasts into the mix (yup – raw turkey on top of the veggies. I know, that freaked me out a bit too, but it works out). Now add the chicken stock. Like I mentioned before, per the recipe we followed, I added 64 oz (2 boxes) of stock at this point in the process, and added another 32 oz later – that part is totally optional. Lower the heat and allow the soup to simmer for about an hour and a half. I lowered the heat and my soup pretty much kept boiling the whole time.  Once the barley is soft but not yet mushy, pull out the turkey breasts (they should be pretty cooked through by now – if not, allow to boil a little longer). Remove the skin and pull meat from bones (careful – it’s hot!), cutting (more like shredding) pieces into bit-sized pieces, or however you like it. Return the turkey meat to the soup and discard skin and bones. Add soy sauce and parsley, and then add salt/pepper to taste (we didn't add any salt, just some ground pepper). At this point, because the soup had boiled down, and the barley has absorbed a lot of fluid, the soup is thicker and less broth-y. This is where we added another 32 oz of broth. It all depends on how you like it.  Stir well and allow to cook for another 5 minutes.
VOILA!  Dish it up in your best soup bowls and serve with slices from a fresh loaf of bread. This soup is hearty and perfect for a cold wintery day.
Vegetarian?  You can easily modify this recipe to your needs. Simply omit the turkey and use a vegetable stock (from the store or home-made) instead.
Not a fan of mushrooms? This soup would still be tasty without the mushrooms, but you may want to substitute in some other vegetables as the ‘shrooms make up the bulk of the substance and flavor.
The verdict: Delicious. Since we added the extra broth, it was very similar to my classic chicken noodle soup, hearty and tasty and warm. It was filling and full of flavor. It passed the taste-test with E and so it’s a keeper. I would definitely make this one again.
What we would change: The original recipe also called for dried mushrooms that were to be cooked on the side and added later on. Our store was also short on these (Is there a mushroom shortage going on?) so I skipped it. We’d like to try the recipe using the shitake’s and the dried mushrooms and see how it changes the flavor. I would also chop my mushrooms up in bigger chunks…slicing them long-ways so their mushroomy shape shows. I think that would make it pretty. And lastly. I wish we had tried the soup as it was before adding the third box of broth – even just for a taste. I think changing the consistency changed up the flavor a bit and I wish we had tried it out first before jumping in to change it. Lessons learned.
So, I’d have to say soup #1 was a success. I confess I was a little worried before I headed off to the store, wondering what I had gotten us into and if I should put the first soup off until the weekend. But I am so happy I bit the bullet and put on my big-girl undies (and apron) and got to it. It was a lot of fun, and the final result was super delicious.
Are you following along with the 52 soup project. Follow the journey on Twitter and Instagram with #52SoupProject. Start your own journey and share your posts here, we’d love to hear what you’re cooking up!