Sofia Wood Knows What a Perfect Winter Lunch Looks Like
Every Friday, Sofia Wood shares her best cooking ideas here on Make it last. As the first snow has fallen over Stockholm, all we want to do is stay inside for long weekend lunches. For that, she has some great suggestions.
This week I thought we’d focus on the perfect, warming winter lunch. The barley and mushroom dish is lovely when served with the baked feta, although both work as solo dishes as well. And as for the pears, well, what’s not to like about a deeply pear flavored caramel to finish off a weekend lunch? Enjoy!
Warm Barley With Wild Mushrooms and Pecorino
This earthy, warming and filling dish is still very light and won’t leave you sluggish. Thanks to the mushrooms, and the fact that you cook the barley in stock, there’s a richness to it that vegetarian food can sometimes lack. The barley can be substituted with any grain you prefer, such as quinoa or farro, and I also recommend trying it with red or black rice.
Mushroom or vegetable stock
3,5 dl barley
2–3 tbsp butter
2 shallots, finely sliced
300 g mixed wild mushrooms such as oyster, shiitake and portobello
2 tbsp parsley, finely shopped
50 g Pecorino, shaved
Good quality olive oil
Flaky sea salt
Crushed black pepper
Cook the barley in mushroom stock according to the instructions on the package, and let steam until all the excess liquid has evaporated. Set aside and keep warm.
Heat 1 tbsp of butter in a medium sized skillet and fry the shallots deep golden and crisp over medium high heat, about 10 minutes. Drain and transfer to a separate dish reserving the residue butter in the skillet. Roughly tear up the mushrooms into small bite size pieces and add to the same pan together with a sprinkle of salt. Cook over medium high heat until the liquids evaporate, then add another 1-2 tbsp of butter and continue to cook until the mushrooms have a nice golden hue and surface.
Fold the mushrooms, shallots and parsley into the barley. Season with salt and pepper, a good drizzle of olive oil and finish with pecorino shavings.
Baked Feta Cheese With Cherry Tomatoes
My favorite side dish! Baked feta is soft and silky. Eat it as it is with a chunk of bread, or serve with the warm barley salad above.
400 g feta cheese
150 g cherry tomatoes
3 tbsp good quality olive oil + extra for serving
Freshly cracked black pepper
Preheat the oven to 210°C.
Break the feta into rough pieces and place in a small baking dish. Scatter tomatoes through the feta, making sure some tomatoes are nestled in under the feta while others are on top. Drizzle with olive oil and bake in the oven for 20 minutes until the cheese has softened and the tomatoes are slightly blistered and fragrant.
Season with black pepper and serve with an additional drizzle of olive oil.
Simple does it, right? This dish is all about deep pear flavor and dark caramel. I like to eat the pears just as they are, but they’re also lovely served with a dollop of creme fraîche or a drizzle of un-whipped cream.
4 large pears, e.g. Kaiser Alexander
3 tbsp butter
50 g brown sugar
1 tbsp water
1 large pinch flaky sea salt
1 pinch real vanilla powder
Carefully peel, core and halve the pears. Melt the butter in a large skillet and place the pears in it, cut side down. Cook over medium high heat until nicely browned and then reduce the heat to medium low. Cook for 5-6 minutes, then carefully turn over and cook for another 5-6 minutes. Add sugar and water to the pan, swirling until the caramel has thickened slightly. Let cool slightly until just warm then serve.
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