Thursday, December 4, 2014

Good Eats Newsletter - December 3, 2014

Localvore Members 
& Veggie Only Share Members

This week your bag will contain:
Mesclun; Potatoes; Carrots; Kale; Cilantro or Parsley;
Celeriac; Shallots

And OUT of the bag:
Red or Green Kabocha Squash

Localvore and any share with pantry items Include:
Elmore Mountain Redeemer Bread
Quebec Organic Pearled Barley
VT Soy Artisan Tofu
Les Aliments Massawippi Miso

Half Veggie Only Members
Mesclun; Potatoes; Carrots; Red Kabocha OR Butternut Squash; Kale; Celeriac
It's a Meat Week!

Don't forget that you can order extra veggies and meat online! 
If your CSA isn't enough or you can't get to our farm market in Waterbury, check out our online ordering system.
Currently you can get a number of different meat cuts as well as some root veggies.
Pete’s Musings

Look out for a letter in your CSA bag this week. Every year around this time I like to reach out to our members about the Vermont Farm Fund. It’s my way of keeping the generosity that Pete’s Greens was shown after our barn fire circulating and doing good in the Vermont ag economy.

A large portion of the donations that we received to help us recover have now been paid forward into the fund. Combined with small and large donations from believers in local food and farms, we have created a fund worth $172,000.

It’s easy to see how our sustainable fund model is working, as we have now made over $320,000 in loans to farmers and food producers wishing to grow their businesses or build themselves back after an emergency.

How have we turned $172k of donations into 29 loans worth $321k? We keep recycling the money through the VT food community. 14 of our first loans have now been paid back and that money has gone on to fund new loans to the likes of Vermont Cranberry Company, Zack Woods Herb Farm and Seedfolks farm. Their payments will fund more loans.

We try to maintain the spirit of farmers lending to farmers, with low-interest loans that are reasonable to qualify for, with minimal red tape. We need your help to
keep this virtuous cycle going and growing.

Please take a moment to read through the information in your bags and consider making a tax-deductible donation to support VT farmers and producers.  Or click here to donate online.



VT Gift Baskets from the Craftsbury General Store

Need a good gift idea? Our local general store has some great gift baskets available for sale with products from local farms and producers. Their gift sets will give you a taste of life in Craftsbury.  From maple syrup and raw honey to kimchi, cheese, bacon and even body care products like goats milk soap, they are filled with incredible products from our friends and neighbors.  (the Cheese Monger basket is shown below). They have 6 gift sets available as well as some hand made wreathes and Craftsbury General Store merchandise.  If you’d like to create your own custom gift box, you can give them a call at 802-586-2440 or email


Storage and Use Tips

This week's salad mix is made up of claytonia, mizuna, and tatsoi. I watched Molly prep and wash the greens today and found it pretty interesting. Each type of greens is picked and put into their individual crates. They all get dumped into our big wash tank together, picked over for quality purposes, and then bagged up.

The potatoes are peter wilcox potatoes.  These are beautiful purple potatoes.  They are nicely textured, firm but not waxy, and wonderful whether roasted, boiled, or sliced into wedges or fried.  They have a full earthy flavor that hints of hazelnuts.  For best visual and nutritional effects, leave the skin on while cooking.

This weeks' squash pick-up may be a little confusing so let me explain it. Half share members have it easy - they'll get either a butternut or red kabocha squash, and it will be inside the bag. Large share members will get either a red or green kabocha from the crates, and each crate will be noted as to how many to take. Please take care in picking up your squash this week!

Kabocha, both green and red, is a Japanese variety of winter squash.  It is one of the sweetest winter squash, with a vibrant deep orange interior, and a very rich, almost meaty texture.  The skin is edible making this squash ideal for stuffing.  This squash makes a really nice thick, creamy soup or is also wonderful in baked goods (see recipes below).

The kale this week will be in your bag of salad greens. The size of some of these stalks makes it difficult to bunch, so you''ll find it packed in with your greens. After a thorough rinse, cut off the stems and the tough central veins from each leaf. For quick cutting, stack several leaves on top of one another, roll into a cigar shape, and cut crosswise into strips. Kale can be used raw in salads or it can be sauteed, steamed, boiled or microwaved.  Kale should be eaten as soon as possible or stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.

Large share members will get either a bunch of cilantro OR parsley. Both of these herbs are a great addition to your cooking; cilantro being wonderful in your Mexican dishes and parsley everywhere. Both have a good amount of nutrition in them

This week we have celeriac! This definitely wins the award for ugliest vegetable this week, and probably would for most weeks. It is, however, a marvelous veggie, one that can be enjoyed roasted, steamed, mashed, or my favorite, made into slaw. Store unwashed celeriac in a plastic bag in the refrigerator, where it will keep for several weeks.  Here's how to cut this veggie: I like to take a thin slice off the top so that I can lay it flat.  Then I cut the whole thing into 1" wide strips and trim the edges off.  It's tough to peel because it's so uneven so this method works well for me.  Like apples, celeriac will darken if exposed to the air for too long. If you don’t plan to cook it immediately, submerge the celeriac in a bowl of water with lemon juice squeezed in.

Shallots are in the onion family.  They look like a small, elongated onion with copper, reddish or gray skin.  Once you peel it it separates into cloves like garlic.  They are well known for their ability to be caramelized or cooked down to where the sugars are reduced or concentrated. When eaten raw, they are much sweeter and milder than even sweet onions. You can slice them thin and saute them in recipes that benefit from a sweet, mild onion flavor. When minced, they are fantastic in homemade vinaigrette and pan sauces. Store them in a cool, dark place.

Veggie Storage and Use Tips are on our website too, so please bookmark the recipe and storage tip section.  I am sure you will find it useful.

Localvore Lore

Elmore Mountain Bread has baked up some of their Redeemer Bread for all this week. It's made with wheat from Rogers Farmstead in Berlin that was ground fresh in Elmores' stone mill. It's a tasty, nutritious bread that is wonderful for sandwiches or toast.

The organic pearled barley was grown in Quebec and milled at Golden Crops owned by Michel Gaudreau. It makes a great substitute in recipes calling for brown rice, is wonderful cooked, cooled and used in cold salads, and adds a nice texture to soups and stews. It also cooks down into a really nice risotto, without all of the attention and stirring required with Arborio rice. One cup of dry barley makes about 3 to 3 1/2 cups cooked. If you soak the grains for 6+ hours in cold water before use, you can reduce your cooking time by at least half. Without soaking, you'll want to let them simmer in water for a good hour. You can also cook barley like pasta, using lots of water (4-5 cups of water to 1 cup barley), then drain what's left over.

Vermont Soy's organic Artisan Tofu is produced right down the road from us in Hardwick, Vermont.  Tofu is a fermented soy product, high in protein and rich in calcium.   They try to use as much locally grown soybeans as possibly for production and use traditional fermentation methods when processing their product. Although tofu can be eaten raw, it is best used with seasonings and marinades as it soaks up flavor. Before using, wrap tofu block in a very clean cotton or linen kitchen towel and squeeze the excess moisture out.  It also freezes well so toss it in the freezer if you won't use it soon.

We have some amazing miso for you this week. This stuff is so good! The owners of Les Aliments Massawippi, Gilbert and Suzanne, made this with traditional fermentation methods. They are big supporters of local growers; their oats come from Michel Gaudreau who provided this week's barley. Their soy beans come from a grower within 60 kilometers of their facility, and their Quebec barley comes from Michel (above).  To make this miso, Suzanne and Gilbert begin by introducing their own lactobacilli culture to washed barley. After culturing for 45 hours, they have what is called, "koji," the basis for making their miso. At this point, they will mix in soy that has been soaked and then slowly cooked for 20 hours. This part of the process takes around 4 days. The next phase of miso production is fermentation. Gilbert and Suzanne ferment their miso very carefully controlling the temperature, humidity and oxygen levels. Their fermentation chamber is on premises, and is held at a continuous 60F.  The flavor is fresh and soft, almost sweet on the finish with some saltiness. As miso is a living food, it is best not to cook it. Instead, stir miso into a dish after it is removed from the heat to maintain it's nutritional benefits. Kept refrigerated, it will last several years.

Miso is a fermented product which enhances the effect of the lactic intestinal flora and as such it is easy on the body. The enzymes it contains further aids digestion. Commercial packaged miso has been pasteurized and is no longer a living food so always choose unpasteurized miso.

Keep this miso in your fridge and it will be good for many months or even years. You can add it to soups for more flavor, or use it as a base for making sauces, or add it to prepared foods. It is a delicious and nutritious way to flavor foods. A bowl of miso soup a day goes a long way toward a healthful diet.

Meat Share

From the pigs we raised this summer we have a nice shoulder roast. Pete's Pastured Pork Shoulder, or picnic ham, is the ideal cut for pulled pork and is great for other slow cooked dishes and soups. The roast comes from the front leg and shoulder of the pig and is cut with the bone-in. Pete’s Pastured Pork is raised right here at Pete’s Greens, all of our animals live their lives outdoors and are never given any antibiotics or hormones.

Also from our pigs we made maple breakfast sausage. This sausage is not in links, but bulk packaged instead, so you can make it into patties or crumble and cook. It would be a wonderful sausage to include in your holiday stuffing, or make great patties for a special breakfast.

We have organic burger from Seth McKnight at McKnight Farms.

In our efforts to close the circle we have a stew hen from Tangletown Farm. They increased the size of their flock for us so that we would have plenty of eggs for the CSA. And in the great circle of life on a farm, eventually some hens need to retire from the flock.  This is the first time we have purchased Lila's hens specifically for the share and we hope you like the concept. These birds, who used to lay eggs for you, will now create soup or stew for your family. The meat is a wee bit tougher than chickens raised for meat (whose tenderness is due to being raised in 8-10 short weeks), but the breast meat is still fine for sandwiches. I think hens are better cooked in a stew or soup pot though, where they benefit from the moisture and slower cooking.  The cooked meat makes great shredded chicken for enchiladas or tacos, stir-fry, salads, pasta sauces and risotto. You can also maximize the nutrition and deliciousness of the stock, which is the beauty of the stew hen. Amy recommonds making a soup and there's a great recipe below.MWF-pork-page

Maplewind Farm Summer Sausage - Up on top of a ridge with the Long Trail running by, Beth and Bruce raise beef, poultry, pigs, and poultry at Maplewind Farm. Their Berkshire Tamworth pigs are all born on the farm and pastured throughout their lives. The Summer Sausage is made with 100% grass fed pork and beef from the farm as well as sea salt, spices etc and NO nitrates/nitrites. The mild flavored summer sausage needs no cooking and is great on crackers or with a cheese plate or as a sandwich meat. Just slice up and enjoy. It is also excellent heated however, so fry it up or use it on pizza or with a pasta dish if you choose (FYI next week will most likely be a pizza week if you'd like to save it for then!). It is totally shelf stable and you can leave it sitting on the counter for up to 6 months or take it on a hike.  Once it's been opened it must be refrigerated.  This would make an awesome stocking stuffer!

Changes to Your Delivery?
If you will be away some upcoming week, and need to make changes to your share delivery, let us know at least 1 week before the change. You can have your share donated to the Food Pantry, or you can skip your share delivery and you will retain a credit on your account toward the purchase of your next share.


Garlic Roasted Kale
Roasting kale is amazing—the leaves turn from a dusty dark green to dark emerald with brown-tinged curly edges that crunch. This vegetable side is delicious served hot from the oven; the leaves lose their crisp texture as the dish stands.

3 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
10 ounces kale, stems removed and chopped
1 teaspoon sherry vinegar

Arrange oven racks in center and lower third of oven. Preheat oven to 425°. Place a large jelly-roll pan in oven for 5 minutes.

Combine first 4 ingredients in a large bowl; toss to coat. Place kale mixture on hot pan, spreading with a silicone spatula to separate leaves. Bake at 425° for 7 minutes. Stir kale. Bake an additional 5 minutes or until edges of leaves are crisp and kale is tender.  Place kale in a large bowl. Drizzle with vinegar; toss to combine. Serve immediately.

Asian-style grilled tofu with Greens
I found this recipe on the Eating Well website and thought it looked amazing for this weeks' ingredients. The salad mix would work particularly well as it will stand up nicely to the tangy dressing. If you want to beef it up a bit you could also shred the kale into thin strips and massage it well with the dressing to make it a little more tender. From Eating Well June/July 2005.

1 small carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup prepared carrot juice
2 tablespoons white or yellow miso, (see Note)
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

Tofu & Greens
28 ounces water-packed firm tofu, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon black bean-garlic sauce, (see Note)
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 bag mixed Asian greens, or baby spinach

To prepare dressing: Puree carrot, carrot juice, miso, vinegar, oil, ginger and garlic in a blender or food processor until smooth.

To prepare tofu: Slice each tofu block crosswise into 5 slices; pat dry with paper towels. Combine honey, oil, soy sauce, black bean-garlic sauce and garlic in a small bowl. Spread half the marinade in a large baking dish and top with the tofu slices. Spread the remaining marinade over the tofu, covering completely.

Preheat grill to medium-high. Oil the grill rack. Grill the tofu until heated through, 2 to 3 minutes per side. To serve, toss greens with the dressing. Divide among 6 plates and top with the tofu.

Celeriac and Apple Salad with Tarragon and Roasted Walnuts
It probably isn’t often that you think ooooh, celeriac, and your mouth waters. But this recipe could change all that. The key here is to be sure to cut the celeriac to matchstick-size, no bigger; it will hold the sauce better. Also, don’t be tempted to skimp on the pepper, as pepper and apples have a certain unexplored appeal.

 Serves 4 to 6
4 cups water
juice of 1 lemon (about 3 tablespoons)
2 tart apples, peeled, cored, sliced into 1/4-inch strips
1 large celeriac, peeled, cut into matchstick-sized strips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 1/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 1/2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon heavy cream
2 teaspoons prepared Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Combine water and lemon juice in a large bowl. Add the apple slices and celeriac strips and let stand for 15 minutes (this acidified water will keep the celeriac and apple from turning brown).

Toast the walnuts in a dry skillet over high heat, stirring frequently, until they begin to darken in spots, 3 to 5 minutes. Let cool.

Drain the celeriac and apple mixture; return to the bowl, add the vinegar, and toss.

Combine the mayonnaise, cream, mustard, tarragon, pepper, and salt to taste in a small bowl. Pour the dressing over the celeriac and apple mixture; toss to coat. Add the walnuts and toss again. Chill for at least 1 hour before serving (2 or 3 hours is even better).


Spicy Celeriac and Carrot Soup

1 tsp olive oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup roasted, peeled, seeded, and chopped Poblano chilies (canned)
1 celeriac, peeled and diced
1 pound carrots, peeled and diced
2 vegetable stock cubes made up with 7.5 cups boiling water
Fresh coriander, roughly chopped
Freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a large saucepan and cook the onion until softened. Add the garlic and red chilli and cook for a further minute. Combine the vegetables and add to the saucepan, allowing them to cook for a few minutes before adding the vegetable stock and half of the fresh coriander.

Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, partially cover with a lid and allow to simmer for 25 minutes.

Blend the soup in a processor until smooth. Return the soup to the saucepan, season to taste and warm through before serving, sprinkled with coriander.


Basic Stew Hens

3-4 pounds of whole, uncooked stewing chicken
1 medium onions, quartered
1 large stalks celery with leaves, or half a bulb celeriac (or substitute celery seeds)
1 large carrots, or 2 small ones
1 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme or 1 long, leafy sprigs fresh thyme
5 peppercorns (or more)
1/2 teaspoon soy sauce (optional)

If frozen, thaw your hen in its package in the refrigerator the day before. Or quick thaw in lukewarm water for an hour and use right away. Rinse hens inside and out with water, setting any giblets aside. Place in a large stockpot with enough cold water to cover (it's OK if leg tips aren't completely submerged). Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer for 1 to 2 hours or until breast meat loosens from the bone. Skim foam from surface a few times. When meat is loose, lift chicken out of pot and let rest until cool enough to handle. Remove meat from bones, and refrigerate for later use. Return bones and skin to pot. Add remaining ingredients and return to simmer for a total cooking time of 3 1/2 to 4 hours. Horton recommends tasting the broth in the last hour to monitor its progress. There is a big difference in the blended flavors and richness of stock that has had full simmer and that which is cut short. When you're satisfied, strain into a wide bowl so that it will cool quickly. Refrigerate or freeze in 1-quart containers if not using immediately. I have found the yield to be a quart of stock for every pound of bird. This liquid gold can get locavores through the winter "localizing" dried legumes that many soups are built around and of course inviting stews, dumplings and hearty pasta casseroles. I find adding the de-boned meat at the last possible second to be best for flavor.

Kabocha Cupcakes with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting
I love dessert recipes featuring vegetables!  Most people never know they're eating something that's healthier for them than a traditional recipe.  You can make the squash puree up to 2 days ahead of time and freeze any leftovers up to 6 months.

For the cupcakes:

    1 kabocha squash, about 2 lb.
    1/4 cup water
    1/2 cup canola oil
    1 cup granulated sugar
    2 eggs
    1 Tbs. vanilla extract
    1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    1 tsp. baking soda
    1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
    1/4 tsp. ground cloves
    1/4 tsp. salt
    1/4 cup low-fat milk
For the frosting:

    8 oz. Neufchâtel cheese, at room temperature
    1 cup confectioners’ sugar
    2 tsp. vanilla extract
    1 tsp. fresh lemon juice

Preheat an oven to 350°F. Line a standard 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.

To make the cupcakes, cut the squash in half crosswise and place, cut side down, in a baking pan with the water. Bake until very soft when pressed, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Let cool, then scoop out and discard the seeds. Scrape the flesh from the peel into a bowl. Mash with a fork or puree until smooth; measure out 1 cup.

In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, granulated sugar, eggs, vanilla and the 1 cup squash puree until smooth. In a small bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt. Stir the flour mixture into the squash mixture, followed by the milk, until well blended.

Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling each one about two-thirds full. Bake until a tester inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes. Remove the cupcakes from the pan and let cool completely on a wire rack.

To make the frosting, in a bowl, using an electric mixer on high speed, beat the cheese, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and lemon juice until smooth. Spread the frosting on the cooled cupcakes and serve immediately, or refrigerate the frosted cupcakes for up to 1 day. Makes 12 cupcakes.


Roasted Kabocha Squash Soup
This soup is a beautiful golden yellowy-orange color. It is thick, smooth, buttery, cream, rich, and a bit sweet and savory all at the same time.  And it's very easy to make!

1 medium to large size kabocha squash
1 Tbsp. + 1 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil, separated
2 small, or 1 large, yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 14-oz. can coconut milk (I used light coconut milk)
2 cups chicken stock (can use whatever kind of stock you prefer)
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Cut kabocha in half, scoop out seeds and stringy insides, then prick flesh with a fork. Brush 1 tablespoon of olive oil on flesh and set halves face down in baking sheet in approximately 1/2 inch of water. Bake for about 45 minutes until flesh is soft.

While kabocha is baking, caramelize onions in 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil.  After kabocha is finished cooking, scoop flesh out of skin.  In a food processor, add kabocha, onions, coconut milk, stock, salt, and pepper and process until smooth. Serve.

*I suggest adding half of the coconut milk and half of the stock and then tasting it. Depending on your tastes, you may want to add all of the coconut milk, or you may want to add more stock. Also, if the soup is too thick, add additional stock until it reaches the consistency you desire.

Caramelized Shallots
What to do with all the shallots besides tossing them into a stir fry?  Make these caramelized shallots!  This recipe, from the Smitten Kitchen, is a great way to maximize the sweetness of the shallots.

6 tbs unsalted butter
2 pounds fresh shallots, peeled, with roots intact
3 tbs sugar
3 tbs good red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 tbs chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Melt the butter in a 12" oven-proof saute pan, add the shallots and sugar, and toss to coat.  Cook over medium heat for 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the shallots start to brown.  Add the vinegar, salt and pepper and toss well.

Place the saute pan in the oven and roast for 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the size of the shallots, until they are tender.  Season, to taste, sprinkle with parsley, and serve hot.

Pearl Barley Casserole
This is a basic recipe that you can improvise upon using this weeks' veggies. Carrots, celeriac, and kale would be great in this, as would cubed butternut squash (you may need to pre-cook these so keep that in mind).

3 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 cup pearl barley
1 (8 ounce) package sliced fresh mushrooms (optional)
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 cups chicken broth
salt and ground black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Melt butter in a 1 1/2-quart Dutch oven or oven-safe pot over medium heat and cook onion until lightly browned, 5 to 8 minutes. Add celery and cook until starting to soften, stirring often, about 5 more minutes. Mix barley into the vegetables and stir until coated with butter. Fold mushrooms and green pepper into barley mixture; season to taste with salt and black pepper. Pour chicken broth into barley mixture and bring to a boil; cover casserole dish.

Bake in the preheated oven until barley is nearly tender, about 30 minutes; uncover casserole dish and bake barley until most of the liquid has been absorbed, about 15 more minutes. Adjust salt and black pepper before serving.

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork
This is a solid pulled pork recipe.  It's very easy to prepare with ingredients in most pantries - just mix the barbecue sauce ingredients and throw the meat and onions into the slow cooker . You can make this in your oven too, but I think your cook time would be nearly as long.

2 1/2-3 lbs shoulder/pork butt (trimmed of any obvious excess fat)
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1/2 c ketchup
1/4 c apple cider vinegar
1/8+ c honey
1/4 c tomato paste
1.5 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
1.5 Tbs mustard
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp garlic
pinch of cayenne (or more to taste)
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 c water

Place the onions on the bottom of your slow cooker. Place the pork shoulder in on top of the onions. Whisk together all remaining ingredients to form the barbecue sauce. Taste and adjust seasonings to your like it. You may prefer to add more honey, salt, pepper, or cayenne. Pour half the sauce over the pork and cover. Cook over low heat for around 8 hours til falling apart. Remove to a large bowl and shred the meat with two forks. Return to the slow cooker and cook for a few more minutes until the meat has soaked up the sauce. Serve on soft sandwich rolls or alongside some mashed potatoes.

Celeriac Soup with Cilantro and Chile
This is a geat soup with a nice kick to it. You could also sub parsley in here if that's what you ended up with this week!

1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 dried chiles, some seeds removed (or not, if you are adventurous)
3 cloves minced garlic
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin
1 1/2 lbs peeled and cubed celeriac
4 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/3 cup whole milk or half-and-half
salt & freshly ground black pepper

In a large saucepan, sauté the onion, chile and garlic in the olive oil for 2-3 minutes over a medium high heat  Add the celeriac, cumin and season with salt and pepper.  Stir briefly to evenly coat the vegetables with the olive oil and spices.

Add the stock, bring to a boil, and then lower the heat and allow to gently simmer for about 15 minutes or however long is necessary for the celeriac to soften.

Remove the soup from the heat and fish out the chile.  Use a blender, food processor or (my preference, if you have one) an immersion blender to puree the soup.

Stir in the milk and return to the heat briefly to warm through.  (Note that a pureed soup bubbles like magma, and can splash out of the pot and burn you if you are not careful, though you don’t need to get it that hot to begin with).  Taste and adjust for salt if needed.

Stir in the cilantro, reserving a bit for garnish, and serve.


3 tablespoons butter

    1 large onion, chopped

    2 ribs celery, chopped

    1 cup pearl barley

    1 (8 ounce) package sliced fresh mushrooms (optional)

    1 green bell pepper, chopped

    2 cups chicken broth

    salt and ground black pepper to taste

Check All Add to Shopping List

    15 mins

    45 mins

    1 hr


    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
    Melt butter in a 1 1/2-quart Dutch oven or oven-safe pot over medium heat and cook onion until lightly browned, 5 to 8 minutes. Add celery and cook until starting to soften, stirring often, about 5 more minutes. Mix barley into the vegetables and stir until coated with butter. Fold mushrooms and green pepper into barley mixture; season to taste with salt and black pepper. Pour chicken broth into barley mixture and bring to a boil; cover casserole dish.
    Bake in the preheated oven until barley is nearly tender, about 30 minutes; uncover casserole dish and bake barley until most of the liquid has been absorbed, about 15 more minutes. Adjust salt and black pepper before serving.

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