Let’s face it, Barley is primarily a winter grain, cooked into soups, pilafs, “risottos” and vegetable stews. Its creamy texture is divine in winter, pairing well with parsnips in particular, with winter hard herbs and parsley, with tomatoes, and, well, with me. I fell in love with barley this year.
Having experimented with making barley water and roasting barley to make barley coffee, I can now leave those uses behind – I am not a terrific fan of either although they are interesting. But wintery barley uses – sign me up.
This is a huge vegetable and barley soup, full of goodness and just right for a day when the temperature doesn’t get over about 9C. Best to take some books and a bowl of soup and curl up in bed on those days.
Vegetable and Barley Soup
this makes a lot – freeze the rest of it or cut the recipe in half
Prep Time: 20 mins for peeling and chopping
Cook Time: 15 mins for the onions plus 20 mins for the soup
Serves: 6 – 8, depending on appetites
0.75 cups pearl barley, soaked for at least 1 hour or overnight
2 Tblspn olive oil
2 leeks, chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 potatoes, peeled and chopped
3 sticks celery, chopped
1 turnip, peeled and chopped
750g tomatoes, peeled and chopped
2 sage leaves
1 – 2 bay laurel leaves
2 small sprigs thyme
4.5 cups stock or water
0.25 cups parsley, chopped
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and add the leeks and garlic. Cook over a low heat until the leeks soften.
Add the carrots, potatoes, celery, turnips and parsnips, and saute for 5 – 10 minutes, stirring regularly.
Add the tomatoes, the barley, the herbs, and the water in which the barley soaked. Make the liquid up to 4.5 cups with stock or water, adding more if the vegetables seem to need it.
Simmer gently for 20 minutes or until the barley and vegetables are tender.
Before serving, stir in the parsley.
Drizzle the soup with some chilli oil. Or add a little chilli paste to the soup as it cooks.