For some people, mashed potatoes are the ultimate comfort food. For others, spaghetti. My Beloved leans toward macaroni-and-cheese.
Honestly, forget food — what beats a glass (or two) of wine?
A Very Bad Thing happened a week ago. The story of the Very Bad Thing isn’t ready to be told yet. Or maybe I’m just not ready to tell it. But I finally had (took) a few minutes to myself today, and I decided to make something to comfort me.
It was a big pot of lentil barley soup.
Probably not the first choice of comfort food for, well, anyone else. When I told my Beloved about it, he was less than impressed.
Soup in general might be considered a comfort food, though probably not in August. Chicken noodle soup, though, ranks on the Food Network’s list of Top 10 comfort foods.
I, however, am not a big fan of noodles. And I don’t care if it’s August.
I ran across a big pot of lentil barley soup at Au Bon Pain the other day, and I thought, ahh, I could make that. And I could make it even better with a few mushrooms and some kale. Because mushrooms are comforting. And kale is good for you.
So I cleaned out the crisper drawer of my fridge, and I made a big pot of soup today. And it was delicious. And only 180 calories per serving, which is pretty darn good for comfort food. And it made me feel better.
Lentil Barley Soup
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3/4 yellow onion, chopped
- 3 stalks celery, chopped
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 4 ounces mushrooms, chopped
- 1 15-ounce can fire roasted tomatoes (I added a half of a leftover fresh tomato, too, chopped)
- 6 cups water
- 2 tablespoons chicken base (I used Better Than Boullion brand)
- 1 cup red lentils (they really must be the red ones, which break down better than green ones)
- 1/2 cup barley (not the quick-cooking kind; the kind that take 50 minutes to cook)
- 1 tablespoon dried parsley
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cup kale, ribs removed and chopped
- Warm the olive oil in a big pot; add chopped vegetables and cook a few minutes.
- Add the remaining ingredients except kale. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer an hour until lentils are essentially mush, thickening the sauce, and barley is tender.
- Fifteen minutes before the hour is up, add the kale.
- Remove bay leaves. Serve with a dollop of sour cream. Makes 6 servings.