Saturday, July 11, 2009

Uncle Ray's Mujabarley........Yes, Mujabarley!

I know to most of you soup is not a summer time thing. So call me strange but I think soup is the perfect summer time food. Just don't heat it up so dang hot! One of the reasons I think it makes a great summer time meal is that it is a great way to eat "light" you might say. I live in the desert southwest, believe me, 105 degrees and a stuffed feeling from over eating don't go together.

OK, I know what your thinking. Your saying to yourself what the h*#% is Mujabarley? Hey, I am allowed to make up my own dorky names. And dorky it is! I just haven't been able to come up with anything any better. And you know how it is when you say something long just sticks. So I feel like I am stuck with it.

Let's start with a little history of this recipe.

I admit it, when it comes to food [or just about anything] I like cheap. Wait, let me make it sound more dignified. I like inexpensive. And we were looking for something to cut the boredom of the usual brown rice meals I was making, So I am digging around in my vegetarian recipe books and I find Mujaderra, or Mujadarrah. This isn't a history blog so don't throw me under the bus, I found as many ways to spell it as I did to make it. Basically, it looks like folks in the Middle East have found many ways of cooking brown rice and lentils together for many years. Most recipes I found started with cooking onions in the pan for starters and finishing it off with a topping of yogurt. Not really our style. We did like my original experiments with these recipes, but of course I had to make this "Middle Tucson" style, not Middle Eastern style. That's where the barley comes in.

Mujabarley is basically more of an American style soup that is based on Brown Rice, Lentils and barley Let's get started......


1 cup Brown Rice........long or short, you know I'll use what's on sale!

1 cup Green can use red, I prefer green.

1 cup should be able to find this in any bulk food store.If not, think about moving.

Celery.............5 or 6 stalks cut into 1/4" pieces.
Might be to much for you, we love it!

Carrots............Don't buy big bitter carrots. Nice baby carrots, well worth it. I cut mine "Julianne" style, not to small.

Red Bell Pepper....Any color's fine, I prefer red.

Onions.............Spanish is my favorite. White would do, NO RED.
One large or Two small.

Tomatoes...........2 or 3 medium, chopped.

Fresh Baby Spinach
Fresh Garlic.......Chop it up!
Granulated Garlic
Olive Oil
Sea Salt

Let's get your big pan going, don't make the same mistake I insist on making over and over...."this should be big enough", We know you are smarter then that.

Now don't make me repeat this, keep this simmering, control your heat, don't let it cool way down. Relax, I'll tell you how.

Start six cups of water simmering, set your timer for 30 minutes.

Add a teaspoon [or so] of olive oil, a dash [big dashes] of Sea Salt, Pepper and granulated garlic.

Remember control the heat so you might want to temporarily turn up the heat....and add one cup of water.

Now throw in the carrots and the one cup of brown rice, stir well and cover, and always put the cover back on....please.

Now add another cup of water, keep the heat up until it's simmering. Now turn it back down. Do you have the idea now?

After about 10 minutes throw in your celery, and add another cup of water. How's the heat? Keep it simmering good!

When the timer goes off it's time to add about 8 cups of water [do I need to tell you how to do this again] the fresh garlic, onions, bell peppers, lentils and barley, stir well. And don't forget a dash of Sea Salt, pepper and granulated garlic.

Set the timer for 45 minutes, is the cover back on?

When the timer goers off add your chopped tomatoes and set the timer for 15 minutes. This is a good time to make sure you have enough water. Remember it's a soup, not a goop. If you need to add some water. Is the cover.....never mind.

When the timer goes off this time remove the pan from the hot burner, preferably just move it over to an unused burner and add your baby spinach. Just lay it on top and sprinkle a small amount of sea salt, pepper and granulated garlic on top. Don't stir in, just cover.

Reset timer for 15 minutes. Now when the timer goes off this time fold, not stir, your spinach into the soup.

Guess what, your done!

I guarantee that after you make this once you will be dying to get right back to make your own version of it, we have never made it the same twice.

Please feel free to leave a comment and let me know how you did or if you catch any mistakes, hey I am a guy, there should be plenty of mistakes!