Two new things, actually. I’ll be posting this recipe step by step as I laaaaazily make it for dinner. I’m also trying a new recipe, as part of a new commitment (three new things!) to make healthier food. See, my sweetheart recently decided to adopt a healthier lifestyle. And since I do most of the meal preparation around here, I have too. A little. I mean, on Friday night I ate foie gras and washed it down with Scotch, but I stand in COMPLETE support of my one and only.
The recipe is a bulgur stew with leek, mushrooms, peppers, and spinach. I’ll be serving the stew with homemade moose sausage. Technically, I made it at school, but it still counts. In my books. My teacher demoed moose butchering for our class a few weeks ago after he came back from a hunting trip. Then one day in class, I ground the scraps and turned them into sausage. Très facile. We’ll get into that one day.
I always stash stuff in my freezer if it’s about to go bad. And then I forget about it. And then there’s no room in the freezer. Which is happening right this second chez Butcherette. So I remembered, when I was taking inventory of the detritus, that I have about a pound of carrots in there. Praise be, because I’ll need 6-8 cups of stock for the recipe and I only have about ¾ of a container of beef stock (maybe 3.5 cups?).
So I stuck the frozen carrots in a medium saucepan. I added a quarter of red onion that was languishing in the fridge, and the leftover bits of spinach that we didn’t eat for dinner last night and covered it all with water. (Fortunately, a new shipment of spinach will be arriving on the Post Grad Seminar Express, just in time for dinner later).
Sorry the pic is so small, the large one is coming out grotesque...
I’ll let it simmer for 45 minutes or so, to trap all the goody-goody vitamins in the stock, and concentrate the flavour a little.
And since I’m laaaaazy, I’ll be taking my time making the rest.
I will post the recipe for this when I am done, as I do not really know exactly what’s going into this thing.
Chop 3 small leeks. If you’ve never cleaned leeks, you should slice them lengthwise, then rinse them. A lot of dirt gets trapped between the layers, due to the way the leeks grow. Once clean, quarter the leeks and slice around ½-inch wide.
Warm a large pot over medium-low heat. Add ½ tablespoon oil and leeks and season with salt and pepper. Cook slowly until softened, about 15 min. Get up off the sofa every 5 minutes or so to stir the leeks. It’s 7:00 pm – watch Jeopardy. Count your blessing for the callous on your left middle finger; without it you would have cut yourself instead of ridding yourself of an eyesore. (This may be a Choose Your Own Adventure).
Add 1 container of mushrooms, sliced and 2 diced red peppers. Drizzle ½ tablespoon oil over top and stir. Cook slowly for 15 minutes for. As before, get up off the sofa every 5 minutes or so to stir. If you think it’s getting a little dry, stir in a few tablespoons of water.
Add 2 minced garlic cloves and 1 small minced jalapeño pepper. Stir 2 minutes. Add 2 cups chunky tomato sauce. Stir 1 minute.
Add 1 cup pearl barley, 4 cups stock (veg if you want to keep this vegetarian, otherwise chicken or beef are good too), 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, 1 teaspoon Herbes de Provence.
Raise heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20 min. Your One and Only will be home soon with the spinach. You will add more broth to finish cooking the barley later, as well as the spinach. Watch How I Met Your Mother. If you want to slow the cooking time further, so you can watch the whole episode, set the temperature to minimum. You will also cook the sausage later.
I have hereby decided that I am cooking Barley Risotto. Albeit a liquidy one. I had no clue what I was going to get from this recipe when I began cooking (and began changing it up) so It’s My Party and I’ll be Lesley Gore for Halloween if I want to.
After 20 min, the barley will not be fully cooked. Remove the lid and add broth ½ cup at a time, keeping at a simmer, until the barley is fully cooked and the consistency of the stew is to your liking. You should stir it every few minutes. This will take around 20-25 minutes more. If you find the stew too watery, raise the heat to reduce the liquid. Stir in 1 bag of torn spinach (remove the stems if you like – I like). Let the spinach wilt, 3 minutes or so.
Meanwhile, grill the sausages in a little oil over medium heat until casings are golden brown and sausages are cooked through, around 12 min.
Serve the sausages next to the barley risotto, or on the barley risotto, or sliced and stirred into the barley risotto.
My One and Only is slightly delayed. Sausages are grilling on low. Risotto is on low, covered, waiting to receive a whole lot of spinach. I’ll try to remember to snap a pic of the whole thing before we eat.
Now, it may seem like it took me 3 hours to prepare this meal. The truth is that this is a meal that I allowed to take 3 hours. Because I’m lazy. And I had some time on my hands. This can be done in about an hour. Later, when I post the whole recipe, I’ll show you how!
Taste test proves that this barley risotto may be a little spicy for some. Personally I like the heat, but this will be reflected in the final recipe. Apart from that, I think this is a really good quick, or super-drawn-out-lazy recipe. Go Butcherette!
Due to laziness and pot washing and other household and Butcherette-related tasks (coming soon! Cowboy Candy!) I’m posting only now. I’m not sure how soon I’ll be doing this again; it was pretty fun in a double-the-work-for-a-lazy-post kind of way.
This is the less lazy, more pot-watchy version, adapted from epicurious.com
1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
3 small leeks, chopped
1 container mushrooms, sliced
2 red or yellow peppers, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 small jalapeño, diced (remove ribs if you want a less spicy sauce)
2 cups chunky tomato sauce2 cups chunky tomato sauce
1 cup pearl barley
4 to 8 cups stock (veg, chicken, beef)
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon Herbes de Provence (or whatever all-purpose seasoning you have)
1 bag spinach, tough stems ripped out, leaves torn
6 sausages of any variety, optional
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, peppers, and garlic; increase heat to medium-high and sauté until mushrooms soften and begin to brown, stirring often, about 7 minutes. Add tomato sauce, smoked paprika, and Herbes de Provence; 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. Cover and simmer until and barley is tender, adding more broth by 1/4 cupfuls as needed for desired stew consistency, about 20-25 minutes. Add spinach; stir until wilted, 1-2 minutes.
If desired, pan-fry 6 sausages over medium heat, around 12 minutes, turning occasionally.