Garlic Broth Lentils and Barley (Vegan)

A flavorful broth is essential when preparing dried lentils and/or barley. Cooking without meat is a trial in creativity. Extracting flavor from hidden sources. I love using onion broth as a base, for which I've already posted the recipe.

Sometimes however, I don't have onion scraps. The horror!

So finding myself without the ingredients to make an onion broth I tried making a garlic broth instead. In which I later cooked my lentils and barley. It was quite successful in my opinion.

A step a lot of people skip, which they shouldn't, is tasting the broth. I taste broth during the cooking process and adjust the seasons as needed.

Garlic Broth

6 cloves garlic, partially cut into a few times
The shells from those garlic cloves, not the outer paper
3-5 Ribs with seed clumps attached from jalapeno peppers
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tsp olive oil
1-3 tsps hot sauce
2 tsps red robin spice blend
salt and pepper to taste

Simmer everything in at least 2 cups water for a minimum of 20 minutes, but no longer than 30 minutes.

Strain to remove the garlic paper, cloves and pepper ribs, reserving the garlic cloves

Add barley and lentils to the strained liquid.

Add 2-3 fresh jalapeno ribs/seeds and garlic cloves reserved from the straining process. Also add 1 tsp more of the red robim spice mix.

Simmer the lentil and barley mixture covered until the liquid is absorbed. Stirring occasionally. Adding additional water in 3/4 cups batches as required until both the barley and the lentils are tender.

Now I like to allow all the liquid to be completely absorbed by the lentils/barley and let it simmer dry for several minutes. This creates a nice, nutty crust on them. It also toasts the starches they release into the pot. I usually do this once or twice during the cooking process. But it's hard to do without burning them. Still it adds a lot of texture and depth. So try this step with caution. It can be skipped and you can still achieve a pretty great result.

Once your lentils and barley are nearly tender, stir in some chopped cabbage, kale or both. Also add 5 cloves thinly sliced garlic and 1-1.5 peppers worth of minced jalalpeno flesh. Add the juice from one lime. Simmer 2 more minutes.

Taste and add additional hot sauce, red robin spice, salt and pepper to taste.

Add the zest from your lime once your mixture has been removed from the heat.

I also like to add some basil and oregano. A little bit goes a long way.

Fish out the remaining jalapeno ribs before serving.

Flavor can be found in meatless places, if you look deep.

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