Soup to Fuel Long Runs and Long Winters
Confession: I know I write recipes for a Minnesota-based running blog. And I am a runner. I am. But I am a pathetic wimp of a runner when it is cold. I was born and raised in the frozen north, but after long stints in both Los Angeles and New York, I am considerably less hearty than I was as a teenager.
In the winter, I put in “maintenance miles” on the treadmill–three or so miles a few times a week–enough to help my body remember what miles feel like, but not so many that I get bored.
A few weeks ago, I optimistically registered for my ﬁrst half marathon of the summer, in Indianapolis. I was sure I could hit the trails to begin training by mid-March. Unfortunately, this winter has been a particularly long one. Today is the ﬁrst day of Spring, and it will be the coldest one on record in 50 years. This means that for the last few weeks, I have been putting in long runs on the treadmill. And despite my efforts at creating a compelling playlist, there are only so many miles a good soundtrack can carry you.
Mushroom and Barley Soup (for long runs and long winters)
So last week, I played some mind games on the treadmill. I envisioned all of the ingredients in my refrigerator and cupboard and developed a recipe I would want to eat. For at least three miles, I was distracted by thoughts of browning mushrooms and deglazing with red wine and the package of barley I needed to use. Turns out, the resulting soup was delicious. And the thought of eating the leftovers got me through my long run this week.
Even though today is the ﬁrst day of spring, it still feels like winter. I suggest making this soup and sitting in a sunny corner of your kitchen to eat it. Next week might be better.
- 1 32 oz. carton vegetable broth
- 1 cup dried shiitake mushrooms
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 10 oz. package crimini mushrooms, quartered (or pre-sliced)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon house herbs (recipe follows) or Herbs de Provence
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 4 ounces quick-cook barley or farro
- 2 cups kale, ﬁnely chopped
- freshly ground pepper and sea salt to taste
Serves 4. (I double this recipe. The soup freezes well, although the barley will take on liquid and your re-heated soup will be more of a stew. It is still delicious.)
- In a medium saucepan, combine dried shiitake mushrooms and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let steep for 20-30 minutes. Drain, reserving liquid and mushrooms.
- In a soup pot, heat olive oil. Saute chopped onions until translucent, about 10 minutes. Add fresh mushrooms, and saute, disturbing infrequently, until browned, about 8 to 10 minutes.
- Add shiitake mushrooms, garlic, and herbs, and stir until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
- Deglaze pan with red wine (this is a fancy way to say: add wine to the pot and stir it around, scraping up the bits of browned stuff on the bottom of the pan).
- Add reserved vegetable broth, quick-cook barley, and kale. Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes, or until barley is tender.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Both barley and farro have trace amounts of gluten. For a gluten free option, substitute 1 cup cooked, short grain brown rice or quinoa for the barley/farro.
- Top soup with a large dollop of cashew cream. Stirred into the hot soup, it makes a lovely, classy vegan version of cream of mushroom.
- I served this with a fresh garlic baguette: Split a fresh baguette lengthwise. Spread each side with Earth Balance, 1 or 2 pressed fresh garlic cloves, a sprinkle of nutritional yeast, some minced fresh parsley and a little sea salt. Toast at 425 degrees until browned on the edges and bubbly in the middle.
From Pure Flavor: 125 Fresh All-American Recipes from the Paciﬁc Northwest by Kurt Beecher Dammeier
I store these in a small jar and use them as I would Herbs de Provence.
- 2 tablespoons dried rosemary
- 1/4 cup dried oregano
- 1/4 cup dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice
- 1 tablespoon dried marjoram
- 1 1/2 tablespoons dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon freshly ground white pepper
- 2 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
In a food processor, pulse the rosemary until it is ﬁnely chopped.
In a small bowl, mix together the rosemary, oregano, basil, allspice, marjoram, thyme, white pepper, and black pepper.
Store the herbs in an airtight container in a dry place. For best ﬂavor, use within 6 months.