Monday, June 22, 2009

Summer Vegetable Stew with Barley

This is one the those unlikely sounding recipes, but my mom made this last time I visited and it was delicious. It was one of the most colorful dinners I have ever made! It was also very healthful and light, as well as inexpensive to make (hello, barley is 65 cents a bag!), and it's a great way to use up leftover veggies in your fridge. The vegetables in this recipe are really only suggestions; the idea here is to use whatever veggies are in season and that you love. This stew is topped with an herb butter, which takes it from good but plain to really special.


Simple Summer Stew with Herb Butter and Pearl Barley

Adapted from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison
Serves 4-5
1 tablespoon EACH of parsley, basil, and thyme
4 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 small yellow onion, minced
8 ounces green beans, trimmed and cut in half
8 ounces summer squash, finely chopped
1 bell pepper, any color, cut into squares
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved
4 ears fresh corn, kernels
Salt and pepper
1 cup pearl barley, prepared according to package (it takes about 45-50 minutes to cook, so plan ahead)

1. In a small bowl, mix the herbs, lemon zest, and a pinch of salt into the softened butter. Set aside.
2. Blanch the green beans in boiling water for 2 minutes; drain and run under cold water to stop cooking.
3. Add the olive oil to a large, deep pan and heat on high. Add the garlic and onion; sautee one minute. Add 3/4 cup water to pan; lower heat and simmer, covered, for 5 minutes. Add the green beans, squash, bell pepper, tomatoes, and corn. Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until all the vegetables are cooked to desired tenderness.
4. Stir in the herb butter and season to taste with salt and pepper.
5. To serve, add to shallow bowl with some barley.


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