I’m sure there are many funny blog posts out there about amusing supermarket substitutions. White wine swapped for white bread. Aubergines replaced with plums. Green and black’s chocolate changed into, er, something else green.
This is not one of those posts. This is the story of my saying “OK, sure, I’ll take tat” and then being forced to do something with an ingredient that I didn’t order. I’m writing this introduction while the thing is boiling, so I really don’t know if it has a happy ending. Fingers crossed, yeah?
I ordered pearl barley. I know what to do with pearl barley. I put it in tomato and chilli soup and boil for ages until it is soft. I do not make “risotto” with it, no matter what people say, because it does not leach out starchyness and does not go risotto-y. If you have run out of risotto rice, just make something else, OK?
What I got was “country soup mixture”. It’s red and green and beige and lumpy. Alrighty then, I’ll make some soup. Some country soup, whatever that is. I was planning on making soup anyway.
That soup on the front looks pretty nice, doesn’t it? How do I make that? <reads side of packet> Side of packet not only fails to tell me how to make that soup, it also tells me that I have to soak the stuff overnight. Sigh. Frankly this “country soup” business seems all a bit WWII. Rationing and all that. It also seems a little like it’s the sweepings from the floor of the lentil-and-pulse-bagging-factory, but I’ll try not to think about that.
Stuff soaked overnight, 120g of it (packet said 30g dry per person), now into a pan with chopped onion and carrot and stock. If this was really WWII I’d have some meat bones of some kind, but I don’t so I stick in a couple of those gel stock cubes. I don’t really know what to add. What else would I have lying around if this was WWII and I was in my great-granny’s kitchen? Swede? Turnip? Am I allowed to add garlic?
I’ll boil it for a while and see.
Here it is.
It looks and tastes like something that would have the word “country” written on the tin. So I guess that’s a success? Boiling vigorously has made the lentily grainy stuff give up some starch to thicken the liquid, and it’s quite pleasant.I’ll eat some with my overnight bread (that’s for another post as I didn’t take any in-progress pictures), which is a great improvement on the previous dwarf bread.
Not as nice as my tomato chilli soup though, which I will make for you as soon as I get my hands on some pearl barley.