It is pretty miserable outside these days here in New York.
These are the days that your soul craves for warmth. Potatoes can’t be eaten every day even by those of us that came from the land of root vegetables, namely Russia, correct? Winter is always the time when people gain weight (or is it only me?) simply because we eat more since we want to feel warm.
Therefore, I was thinking what healthier option I could make for dinner. And – it always pays to improvise – I came up with this, apparently delicious dish that can be easily made with different variations of vegetables and spices. I thought of zucchinis, but then in our big Russian/Soviet/American store, which we call ‘baza’, I saw such nice mushrooms, that I decided that this is precisely what I would use.
So, here is my recipe for a nice, hearty, easy, and healthy winter dinner:
For about half a cup of barley:
1 back of baby bella mushrooms
4-5 shitake mushrooms – again this is a very forgiving dish. You can take just one kind, or add more kinds of mushrooms. I think the more the merrier
1 big onion
1 bunch of nice collard greens red or green, or swiss chard, or strong kale
A dash of paprika, turmeric, dried crushed chilli peppers (be careful with the heat of it) – really any spices you like would go here
Salt, freshly ground pepper to taste
Olive or sunflower oil for frying
Soak the barley for about an hour, and after than bring to a boil in a pot of fresh salted water and simmer for about half an hour. taste it as it should be just a little bit al dente. It will finish up cooking together with mushrooms.
Meanwhile, chop the onion and mushrooms roughly, and sautee first the onion in a big frying pan.
Add the mushrooms, season with just salt, and keep on medium fire stirring occasionally
Meanwhile, wash the greens very very well in multiple changes of cold water. separate the stems and cut them small adding to the mushroom onion mixture. Season with the pepper and spices, and add the cooked barley.
Lastly, add the green tearing them with your hands into smallish pieces.
Let the mixture simmer for just a couple of minutes, and adjust the seasonings.
Enjoy hot or warm.