This recipe is inspired by my mom's cooking principles. I was born in Penza, Russia. Grew up there too. My mom is an amazing Ukrainian woman who also happen to have an inherited talent for cooking... just like my grandmother. And here is me :)
This is a perfect soup to make this winter little bit more cozy. This recipe also is a bit different than anything that my mom makes...or a typical mushroom barley soup. Why? Because it has this very magical golden color. And that is achieved by using a very special ingredient - turmeric. Turmeric is such a wonderful spice that been used in the Eastern world for centuries, but here, in the West, some folks don't know much about it. Here are some facts about turmeric. Curcumin is a main curcuminoid of turmeric which is a root of ginger family. What is so special about curcumin? It gives this spice a wonderful golden yellow color. But what else?
An extraordinary study was published in the Journal of the American Diabetes Association. It shows that people who take curcumin extract on a daily basis saw a significant improvement in fasting blood sugars, glucose tolerance, hemoglobin A1C, insulin sensitivity, pancreatic insulin-producing beta cell function, and insulin sensitivity.
It has powerful anti-inflammatory properties which help to speed up post-surgical recovery.
People who eat turmeric regularly actually have the lowest reported prevalence of dementia and Alzheimer's.
These are pretty awesome discoveries. You can read more on Dr. Greger's website: http://nutritionfacts.org. He with a team of researches brings to light many incredible facts about nutrition and plant food healing. Do take a look!
On this note let's move to the recipe itself.
Serves 4-6 people.
- 4 medium potatoes - peeled
- 1 medium carrot - peeled
- 1 small yellow onion
- 2 large stalks of celery
- 1 cup of dry mushrooms
- 1 cup of fresh mushroom (I used crimini)
- 1/3 cup of pearl barley (rinsed and picked)
- pinch of thyme
- bay leaf
- 1/3 tsp. of turmeric powder or grated fresh
- 3 tbsp. of olive oil (not extra virgin)
- salt and black pepper to taste
In a medium bowl soak dry mushrooms in hot water - about 10-15 min.
While mushrooms are soaking chop potatoes and celery. Place these vegetables, soaked dry mushrooms, barley and salt in a large pot, add 6 cups of water and start cooking on a medium heat. Add water in which mushrooms were soaking for a deeper broth color. Cook for about 30-35 minutes with a closed lid. Add more water if you want your soup to me "thinner".
In a mean time chop onion, carrot and crimini mushrooms. In a large skillet heat up olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, carrot and mushrooms. Saute for 5 minutes, then add thyme and cumin. Cook until carrots are softened and mushrooms are crispy golden.
After cooking potatoes and barley for a half an hour add mushroom-carrot-onion-turmeric veggies mix to the pot. Cook for another 15-20 minutes - until barley pearls open up and become soft.
At the very end pick up several pieces of potatoes from the pot and mash them in a bowl, then return the mash into the soup. This will create a richer creamier broth. And voila!
Let the soup sit for 5-10 minutes, then serve. Bon Appétit!
Let me know how the soup comes out. Cheers!