Vegetable Barley Soup

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After a damp, dreary morning spent in a hockey rink, trying to watch my son play, where the glass was so fogged up I just stood there, hoping he would know I was watching even though I couldn’t see a thing, all I wanted was a hot bowl of soup!

So when we got home, I rummaged through the refrigerator and figured I could just throw together some basics without a recipe and it would be good enough.

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Although it seemed like I was making chicken soup without the chicken, it came out pretty darn good, and is worthy to stand on its own.

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The soup got better as it stood on the stove over a few hours, but I can’t tell you anything more than that, because it was all gone before I could save any for tomorrow!

Vegetable Barley Soup

4 Tbsp. olive oil

3 stalks celery, diced

4 carrots, peeled and diced

1 medium onion, diced

3 small leeks, white and light green part, washed well and diced

1 small bunch parsley, chopped

1 C. barley, rinsed and drained

1/2 tsp. turmeric

1 Tbsp. tomato paste

2 Tbsp. kosher salt

1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

12 C. water or broth (if using broth, reduce salt to taste)

Heat oil in a 6 quart pot.  Add all the vegetables (except parsley) and saute for about 4-5 minutes, until onions are softened.  Add parsley, tomato paste and spices and stir another minute.  Add barley and combine with vegetables.  Add water and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to simmer for about an hour.  Give a stir every once in a while.  I left it simmering even after the hour was up, and it thickened and was delicious.

You can also add simple free-form dumplings before serving, by bringing soup back to a boil. Combine 1 egg, 1 tablespoon oil and 3-4 tablespoons of flour in a bowl, until a batter forms.  Lift some of the dough by forkful and hold over the pot of soup and using another fork, scrape dough in a ribbon (or clump) into the soup.  Continue until all the batter is used up. Allow the dumplings to cook for a minute or two.  That’s it!

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