If you use regular barley (versus quick-cooking) increase the broth to 6 cups, and the soup cooking time to 40 minutes. If you make it ahead, wait to add the spinach until you reheat it before serving, and you may need to add a little more broth as the barley will soak it up. You can enjoy this soup with or without the poached eggs.
Serves 4 adults, or 2 adults and a handful of kids, with leftovers.
Vegetable Barley Soup with Poached Egg – adapted from Gourmet magazine
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 TBS olive oil
- 1 tsp. kosher salt, divided, plus 1 TBS kosher salt for eggs
- 7 – 8 oz. fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, sliced (if large, cut in half crosswise and then slice)
- 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1 14.5-oz. can diced fire-roasted tomatoes, undrained
- 1 quart vegetable broth
- 3/4 cup quick-cooking barley
- freshly ground black pepper
- 5 oz. baby spinach
- 1 TBS distilled white vinegar
- 4 eggs
Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, and 1/2 tsp. salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are golden, about 10 minutes.
Add the mushrooms and thyme; cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms have softened, about 5 minutes.
Add the tomatoes with their juice, broth, barley, 1/2 tsp. salt and freshly ground black pepper, and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.
Add the spinach and cook, stirring, until it’s wilted.
Heat 2 quarts water, 1 TBS salt and 1 TBS vinegar in a wide, medium pot until it’s simmering.
Crack one egg into a small bowl.
Gently slide the egg into the water; repeat with remaining eggs. Cook for 2 – 3 minutes, until the whites are set and the yolks are still runny.
Serve soup with a poached egg on top.
Napa Cabbage Salad with Buttermilk Dressing – from Gourmet magazine
This particular week I couldn’t find Napa cabbage at my grocery store, so I used generic “Chinese” cabbage.
- 1/2 cup well-shaken buttermilk
- 2 TBS low-fat mayonnaise
- 2 TBS cider vinegar
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1 TBS sugar
- 3 TBS finely chopped chives (I use kitchen scissors)
- 1 lb. Napa cabbage, cored and thinly sliced (about 4 cups)
- 6 radishes, diced
- 2 celery stalks, sliced diagonally
Whisk together the dressing ingredients, buttermilk through chives.
Combine cabbage, radishes and celery in a serving bowl; toss with dressing.