Friday, February 14, 2014

#3 Mushroom, Potato, Barley and Vegetable Soup

The weather here in San Jose turned foggy and rainy. It's a far cry from yesterday's balmy spring day, but I'm not complaining - it's February after all.

In weather like this, I like something hearty and slightly spicy. Something that will warm me up and hug me.
What better than a mix of mushrooms, barley, potatoes and a few vegetables that are still waiting in the fridge? Upon close examination of my pantry and refrigerator I decided that there is no need to go to the store - no need to leave the house before I have to. This soup is so simple that I can make it anytime I have the basics at home - potatoes, mushrooms and a few odds and ends. Even if I don't have fresh mushrooms available I always try to keep dried Porchinis at hand. The Starving Artist has a budget to keep, and getting dry goods in bulk is something that helps out in the kitchen immeasurably.

My secret to this soup is adding half a teaspoon of chili flakes to the broth at the beginning - it gives it a hot kick that warms me up on a foggy day like this. I take a huge spoonful and look out the window at the damp fog and bare trees and I feel better all over.

1 jar (about 4 cups) chicken broth
1/2 cup reserved chicken meat
4 shiitake mushrooms chopped
2 small potatoes diced
4 tbsp corn
2 carrots reserved from the original broth
(if you have any canned vegetables like carrots or peas, they will work wonderfully)
1 tsp pepper flakes
6 tbsp barley
sage leaves for garnish

Put potatoes, pepper flakes, barley and broth into a pot and simmer for about 20 minutes until barley and potatoes are soft. Add mushrooms and simmer for 5 more minutes. At the end, add the chicken and cooked carrots. A good addition would be some grated Parmesan, alas, the Starving Artist has no Parmesan today. 

The collection of chicken broth in the fridge looks untouched. We're going to have to get creative...   

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