About Me
I'm a Melbourne boy, hailing from St Kilda with one ex, one current wife and four kids. Love the outdoors and making new discoveries. I cook a lot at home (cheers from wife) and do some preserving, mostly jams, pickles and fruit liqueurs. This is the diary of a cooking journey.

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Sunday, April 17, 2011
Porcini & Barley Soup

A well known television chef was recounting a visit to a regional restaurant in Italy. When he asked what was in the risotto, the answer was just a little good stock.

All home cooks and chefs alike know the value of home made stock.

It has a flavour and body that no multinational corporation has yet been able to put in a box. No doubt, in a busy kitchen, shortcuts can and do get made, it's the nature of our time poor society. But, when the chance presents itself, there is nothing quite so satisfying as simmering some bones, vegetables and aromatics, the alchemy of which results in a wondrous flavoursome liquid.

A recent dinner party collided with a day at the footy, so my wife was pretty much left with all the cooking. Her only request was for some homemade chicken stock before I left. I'm a firm believer in using all parts of the chicken, frames, wings, feet and giblets, though not the liver. If all you can get your hands on is some chicken wings, a decent stock can still be yours too.

There are so many recipes for chicken stock that I won't bother with one here, but I will tell you how to make the soup.

Porcini and Barley Soup

For every litre of chicken stock:

10 to 15 g dried porcini
1/2 cup barley
1 or 2 waxy yellow potatoes, peeled and diced
salt & fresh ground pepper
chopped parsley to garnish
optional - a little cream

Place the porcini in a saucepan with a cup of water and simmer until the mushrooms are soft. Drain, reserving the water and chop the porcini into small pieces.

Place the chicken stock in a pot with the barley, porcini and reserved cooking water and bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the barley is soft, about 30 minutes. Add the diced potato, season with salt and fresh ground pepper and continue to simmer until the potato is soft, about 15 minutes. Check the seasoning again as the potatoes will take up some salt.

Ladle into soup bowls with a little cream if desired and garnish with the chopped parsley.
  posted at 6:20 pm

At 6:29 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks SO good but at risk of gilding the lilly, I'd love a bit of buttered sourdough in which to mop it all up with!

At 4:54 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello mates! I want to start a new discussion about the influences teflon has on our health.
We all know that teflon makes our pans easier to clean, as nothing sticks to them.
We might even consider this as an advantage, as we require no oil so that food doesn't become stuck on the pans, and less oil means a healthier diet.
For all those that don't know, teflon consists of carbon and fluorine molecules that bond so strongly, food can't get a hold and just slips straight of a teflon coated pan.
But few of you may know of the risks involved using teflon coated pans.
Teflon contains a chemical called per-flouro-octanoid-acid also known as PFOA, which can cause cancer.
If you over heat teflon coated pans, to 260 degrees Celsius, you get the risk of releasing that chemical...and this is a risk not worth taking.
So although teflon coated pans are easier to use, they imply high risks on our health...so it is advised that they be used properly.
The alternative to these pans is using copper pans, as they conduct heat quickly.
I hope you found my topic interesting!

At 3:21 pm, Anonymous kitchen hand said...

Amazing how much stock we actually tip down the drain, after boiling vegetables, etc. Many cultures use the 'ends' that still give flavour (celery etc) that we throw in the compost.

At 12:19 am, Anonymous Jenn Brigoel said...

This would be perfect for them cold nights. And healthy too. :) My mother would love this recipe (minus the cream though). Thanks for sharing!

At 6:57 am, Blogger neil said...

Hi steve, bread and soup have been together since Adam and Eve, so mop up all those nice juices. Of course there is picking up the bowl and licking it clean, that's been known to happen around these parts.

Hi anon, interesting stuff, but what other alternatives are there to teflon? Copper isn't the best choice as the tin lining melts at higher temperatures The soup was perfectly safe, cooked in a copper pot from sart to finish.

Hi kitchen hand, I'm guilty of tipping cooking water down the drain, but I do try and save 'ends' for the stockpot. Going to have to make minestrone soon as all the parmesan ends I've squirreled away are starting to take over the fridge.

Hi jenn, the flavour was amazing. I had it both ways, with and without cream, both were good, but I'm with your mum.


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