ri-čet (reach it)
Today is another stew day. I wish it was tuesday, so I could make a bad pun out of it 🙂 Nevertheless, as the week with its theme of Slovene national food isn’t over yet, I’d like to present the ričet stew, a staple of many Slovene kitchens even today. Starring barley and featuring a motley of wintery veggies, it’s a delightful stick-to-your-ribs one pot wonder. I like to make a big pot of it that lasts for a few days, especially because, like many other stews, it tastes even better the next day. Besides, is there anything better than a bowl of hot, hearty ričet on a cold winter’s day?
- 250 g of dehulled barley
- 200 g of dry brown beans (I like borlottis)
- 2 to 3 carrots, sliced widthwise
- 1 kg of potatoes (about 6 medium-sized ones)
- a wedge or two of celery root
- 1 small parsley or parsnip root, cut into chunks
- a few bayleaves
- 1 tsp of dried peppercorns
- olive oil
- parsley leaf*
Prepare the barley and beans beforehand by soaking them overnight in the fridge. Wash them well, then add to a large pot (mine holds 6 L) and cover with twice as much water as the grains and beans. Cover, bring to a boil and then let simmer. Next, prep the carrots, celery and parsley or parsnip. Add to the stew about 20 minutes into the cooking, along with the bayleaves. After another 20 minutes or so, add the potatoes which you prepped in the meantime. Add more water if needed, but just enough to cover everything, because this stew needs to be on the thick side. When it has been cooking about an hour, check to see if the potatoes and beans are cooked (the barley should be – it will look popped) and let simmer some more. When they’re done, season with peppercorns and salt to taste, about 2 teaspoons, and a few tablespoons of olive oil. Let simmer for another minute and reduce if the stew’s too thin. Serve sprinkled with chopped up parsley it you’ve got any on hand, since it really makes a difference!
You can cut the cooking time by using canned or pre-cooked beans, in this case just throw them in with the peppercorns. The stew will taste less of beans and more of everything else, and also come out lighter.