With a chill in the air and an early snowfall on the ground (if you are in New York or New Jersey), we turn our thoughts to warming comfort foods that can be throw together with ease. Soups and stews become a staple dinnertime choice but they are equally as popular for casual entertaining.
This recipe, adapted from Bon Appetit, is hearty, delicious and serves 6. It can be made in advance and, best of all, made in one pot.
LEEK BARLEY STEW
Adapted from Bon Appetit
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped leeks (about 2 small stalks; white and pale green parts only)
1 8-ounce container sliced crimini (baby bella) mushrooms
2 garlic cloves, pressed
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, minced
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
1 cup pearl barley
4 cups (or more) vegetable broth
8 cups kale, trimmed, center stalks removed, leaves coarsely chopped and packed
In a heavy pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the leeks and gently sauté until they soften. Stir in garlic and rosemary. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Add mushrooms and increase heat to medium-high. Stir the pot often for about 5 minutes and sauté until mushrooms begin to brown. Pour can of tomatoes with the juice into the pot and stir for 1-2 minutes until warm. Add barley along with the vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Cover the pot and reduce heat to low. Let barley simmer in covered pot until tender about 20 minutes. Stir in kale until the leaves wilt. Then cover again and simmer for another few minutes adding more broth as needed until the kale and barley reach desired softness.
Serve with crusty bread. Optional: sprinkle with grated gruyere cheese. Substitute spinach for kale if you prefer.
PHOTO CREDIT: Misha Gravenor for Bon Appetit