This one is for Tom. While chatting on Facebook today he encouraged me to start posting recipies again. Well, here it is, last nights dinner. I love this dish. It is vegetarian and if you leave off the biscuits, it's vegan. Nothing gonna hurt you in here, just good food. Enjoy!
Mushroom Barley Stew with a Biscuit Crust
1 can chick-peas
2 tablespoons vegetable (or olive) oil
18 pearl onions (the frozen ones in the bag are perfect)
4 carrots, peeled and cut in half then in ½ inch pieces (use can use a bag of baby carrots cut in half)
2 celery stalks, cut like the carrots
2 tablespoons flour
6 cups vegetable stock
1 teaspoon herbes de Provence
3 cloves garlic, minced (¼ teaspoon of jar garlic is fine too)
1/3 cup pearl barley
¾ pound red potatoes, cleaned and quartered
1 cup sugar snap peas (frozen box is ok too)
¾ pound sliced white mushrooms or baby bella's
salt and pepper to taste
For the Biscuits:
2 ½ cups flour, plus extra for dusting
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ cup (4oz) cold unsalted butter, sliced into ½ tablespoon pieces
1 cup buttermilk (light is fine)
In a large pot over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the chick-peas, carrots, celery, pearl onions and stir to coat. Cook about 2 minutes, sift the flour over the vegetables and cook for another 2 minutes, but do not brown. Add the stock, herbes de Province, garlic and barley. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. The vegetables should be tender when pierced with a fork. Add the potatoes and cover, cook for an additional 30 minutes. While the potatoes cook, make the biscuits.
Sift the flour, salt, and baking powder in a large mixing bowl. Using your fingers, rub the butter into the flour until it resembles a coarse meal. Add the buttermilk and stir until the mixture forms a dough. Gather into a ball and transfer onto a floured surface. Roll out the dough to ¾ inch thick and fold over in half, roll out again and fold, roll out to ½ inch and using a 2 inch cutter (or a glass rim) cut out the biscuits. You can re-roll the leftover dough to make more biscuits. Put the biscuits aside. Pre heat the oven to 400 degrees.
Check the stew. Add the snap peas and mushrooms cook for 5-8 minutes and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a round casserole dish (about 3qt 7-8 inch dia). Place the biscuits on top of the stew. It's ok if the overlap a bit. You can cook any extra biscuits on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Place the dish (and cookie sheet) into the oven and bake until the biscuits are golden and the stew is bubbling, about 20-25 minutes. Serve immediately.
Resist the urge to use store bought biscuits. I've done it and they just don't taste as good. This is a great meal to make a double batch of. It reheats well and even without the biscuits, it makes a very satisfying lunch.