Some New Year’s resolutions may be to lose weight this year. Others may want to quit smoking. And maybe a few would like to spend less money.
I on the other hand, would just like to keep the crew from Hoarders from showing up at my apartment doorstep.
My kitchen cupboards are full, full of pantry staples like flours, dried beans, sugars, canned tomatoes and the like. Unfortunately, it goes beyond that.
Various dried mushrooms? Shitake, porcini and woodman’s blend (whatever that means…)
Hijiki? Shacking up with arame. They’re besties.
Dates? Sure, but to get to them you gotta push aside the dried cranberries, raisins, golden raisins, apricots, dried cherries…hold on a sec….where did these cacao nibs come from!?
And with the cupboards being filled to the brim, some items have found “homes” in re-usable grocery bags on the floor. It just needed to stop.
Soup, was the answer.
The flux of warm, re-circulated, dry air in the lab to a drastically different, wet, cold and sometimes windy Boston side-street, has brought on sniffling noses, stiff joints and knuckles begging to be cracked. Perhaps it’s a lingering bug, but I’m convinced that the constant change has left my body tired and hungry; hungry for warm bowls filled with hearty ingredients and dunkable broth.
Wheatberries add a toothsome, nutty bite that is a welcomed change to other vegetable soups. The mushrooms are cooked down for about twenty minutes, concentrating their woodsy, umami flavor; a meatiness that pairs well with the earthiness of rosemary and thyme.
As you lower your spoon down into your bowl, sweet winter kale entwines itself onto the silver, trapping wheatberry and mushroom inside their curly leaves. And with each mouthful a warmth remains, from the red pepper flake that you ever so slightly taste in the background.
Serve this hearty soup to friends and family, but don’t forget the bread. It’s all about the dipping. And of course, slurping.
Adapted from The Kitchn
Serves About 6
1 – 2 tablespoons of mild tasting olive oil (enough to coat the bottom of your pot)
1 large onion, diced
4 celery stalks, diced
1 pound of mushrooms (I used crimini but white mushrooms will do fine), diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced (I’m a big garlic fan, but if you’re not, use half the amount)
Half a teaspoon of dried thyme
1 teaspoon of dried rosemary
Half a teaspoon of red pepper flake (optional, but I think the heat is really great here)
3 tablespoons of flour (I used all purpose)
6 cups of low sodium stock (I used homemade vegetable)
One third to half a cup of uncooked wheatberries (these guys really absorb a lot of the broth, so if you’d like a soup with less liquid, use a half a cup)
1 bay leaf
1 bunch of kale, rinsed and torn into easily edible pieces off their stems
A sharp knife
A dutch oven or a large pot with lid
Add the olive oil to your dutch oven and place over a burner on medium high heat.
When the oil starts to shimmer, add the onions and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally until the onions are translucent (about 3 – 5 minutes).
Add the mushrooms and stir them into the onions and celery. Turn the heat down to medium and cook, stirring occasionally until the mushrooms have turned a dark brown. This process will take about 20 – 25 minutes. Please do not skip this step! You want the mushrooms to release all their liquid as this is where the depth of flavor of the soup comes from.
Add the garlic, thyme, rosemary and red pepper flake (if using). Stir them into the ingredients and cook until fragrant, about a minute.
Add the flour and stir in until the dry flour is no longer visible (the vegetables will feel tacky against your spatula).
Slowly pour in half a cup of stock, scraping up the brown bits at the bottom of your pot. A lot of flavor comes from these brown bits so be sure to scrape them up with your spatula.
Pour in the rest of your stock, and add the bay leaf.
Add the uncooked wheatberries and stir into the soup.
Turn the heat up to high and bring the soup to a boil, then turn the heat back to low. Cover the pot and simmer for about 20 minutes.
Add the torn up kale to the soup and stir in. Simmer for about 10 – 15 minutes, until the kale is tender and no longer bitter.
Turn the heat off and allow the soup to sit for about 10 minutes to cool enough to eat without burning your mouth.