My rockin' little brother sent me an enameled cast iron dutch oven for my birthday this year. So when I saw this recipe on The Chew recently, I knew I wanted to try it for the first meal from that beautiful piece of cookware.
Mario Batali talked this one up as his favorite comfort food that his mother always made him. Even though it is hot as Hades down here lately, I wanted me some comfort food anyways. And I'm glad I tried it out. This has the makings of just an okay meal... but the addition of the jalapeño gives it a whole extra dimension that made this completely worth it.
I did not make any changes to the original recipe at all, other than doing a slightly smaller batch. I even did the poached eggs at the end (after setting aside plenty for Myles to eat). I will tell you though, don't waste your time on the eggs. There is such complex flavors and textures going on in this stew that you just don't notice them at all, and you definitely don't need the extra protein. I will leave the poached egg for my ramen where it makes a difference.
I can't wait to try out some more recipes with my new dutch oven! You should definitely give this one a try, just pay attention to all of the directions before you get started so that you know how long each of the steps take... the barley goes in after 2 hours of simmering and needs an hour to cook. Oh, and leftovers were fantastic (after adding a little water because the barley soaks up a lot of the stock). We served this with hunks of french bread which was great to soak up the last bit of the stock. We ALL enjoyed this one. Do you have any recipes you recommend I try next in this thing?