It's Soup Time!
As the New England weather shifts to cooler temperatures, we tend to look for some warmer meals to take the chill out of our bones! Soups are a great way to pack in good nutrition and satisfy the wintry, comfort food cravings without a lot of the added fats that casseroles have.
My cabinets are stuffed with dried legumes and whole grains like brown rice, barley, and farro. The Greek in me, also has orzo hanging around for the avgolemeno (egg-lemon) soup that has been one of my favorites since I was a kid.
Legumes and barley, particularly, are great sources of soluble fiber—the kind that helps to lower bad cholesterol levels (LDL’s) and stabilize spiking blood sugars (glucose). They are also packed with protein and can represent a complete meal. I thought I would share the following (adapted) recipe from my gout book, The 28-Day Gout Diet Plan.
Mushroom Lentil-Barley Stew
Makes about 2 cups. If you make a double batch, this will freeze well for up to six months or it keeps in the fridge for about five days.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
10-12 cremini mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
6 cups low sodium vegetable or chicken broth
1 (14-oz) can of no salt added crushed tomatoes, drained
1 cup pearl barley
1 cup dried lentils (clean for small stones)
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon ground turmeric (optional)
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon water
In a large pot, heat the olive oil on medium-high until it shimmers. Add the onion, carrots, mushrooms, and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften, about five minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds.
Add the broth, tomatoes, barley, lentil, bay leaf, thyme, turmeric, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer, stirring frequently, until the barley and lentils are soft, about 25 minutes. Remove the bay leaf.
In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and water. Stir into the stew. Cook, stirring, until the stew starts to thicken, about three minutes.
Optional: If you don’t like turmeric, feel free to omit or add to your taste liking.