Friday, February 18, 2011

Yummy Winter Soup to Keep You Toasty!

Ah Mother Nature, what a funny gal…a real comedian…I think the transition from winter to spring must be her favorite time for comic relief. Gray, gray, gray, rain, rain, cold, cold cold…then long about February, she presents us with that wonderful day of beautiful sunshine! We warm ourselves in it’s wonderful glow. Start to root around in our gardens, cleaning up the remains of winter. Our minds start fantasizing about what we will do on the next beautiful warm day…HA, HA, HA! Mother Nature can hardly contain herself…got those silly humans yet again! They fall for that spring fake out every time! Well, we have had some beautiful days lately, and yes, we fell for the old Spring fake out, but perhaps Spring is just around the corner…However, on this, cold, windy, rainy, day, we are reminded that yes, it is still winter! For that, winter soups are still a nice thing to have on hand! Root vegetables are still in abundance at the market and what better way to get some good veggie vitamins than in a nice soup! Several weeks ago I canned up some vegetable stock and since then it has been longing to be used, so I set about whipping up a batch of Barley Soup with Seasonal Vegetables, adapted from ‘How to Cook Everything - Vegetarian’ by Mark Bittman. It’s a hearty soup that with a nice salad on the side makes a good meal! And with leftovers in the fridge it can be a hearty meal for several days!
The prep time on this one is a little lengthy what with all the pealing of the root veggies, but otherwise it is quite simple, and really yummy. I used it in a canning class I gave last week as an example of what to do with the vegetable stock we had just made. It was a big success!

Barley Soup with Seasonal Vegetables
Adapted From ‘How to Cook Everything - Vegetarian’ by Mark Bittman
Recipe for 6 cups


2 TBS Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1Med Onion, chopped

1 TBS Garlic , minced

Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper to taste

1 C Pearled Barley

6C Vegetable Stock

About 2 LBS Root Vegetables - Turnips,
Parsnips, Carrots, Celery root, Yukon Gold Potatoes - peeled and cut into ½” dice.

1 TBS Fresh Sage Leaves, chopped
1. Put the oil in a deep skillet or broad saucepan or casserole over medium-high heat. When hot, add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 3 minutes. Stir in garlic, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook for 1 minute more. Add the barley and cook, stirring constantly, until the barley starts to toast and stick, about 5 minutes. Stir in the stock and bring to a boil. Then lower the heat so the liquid simmers, cover and cook until the barley begins to soften, 10 to 15 minutes.

2. Turn the heat up to medium-high and add the root vegetables. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to simmer again, cover, and cook until the vegetables and barley are very tender, another 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in the sage and cook for another minute or two.

3. Taste and adjust the seasoning

Serve the soup with a nice green salad, a glass of wine, get cozy and wait for the next sunny day!

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