Monday, September 28, 2009

Vegetable Barley Soup

A little over a year ago I had one of the most amazing soups I've ever tasted. It was vegetable barley soup. I couldn't get enough of it. Sadly, when I asked for the recipe I was informed that it was much too complicated to pare down for a family-sized portion. Sadder still, the restaurant was in our hotel in the Swiss Alps. Since then I have been searching high and low for a vegetable barley soup recipe. I've looked through all of my recipe books, searched epicurious and, crawled the interwebs at large, and still haven't been able to find something that resembled that amazing soup. I finally decided to give it a shot on my own. It's not the same; not even comparable, really, but it's husband approved and pretty tasty. (I do have to admit that I drew ideas from The Papaya Chronicles and The Vegetarian Table: France)

J'aime: Vegetable Barley Soup

1/2 cup pearled barley
1 small onion, chopped
1 or 2 leeks, white and light green parts chopped
1 medium potato, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
4 or 5 celery stalks, chopped
2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
2 quarts vegetable broth
approx. 2 tsp. white balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil

Pour the barley into a medium-sized sauce pot. Turn the burner on low, and lightly toast the barley stirring constantly. When barley starts to smell toasted (approx. 3-5 mins.) remove from burner and transfer into a strainer. Rinse barley under water to remove any unwanted soil or dust particles. Return to pot and add 2 cups of water. Add a dash of salt, bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to simmer for approx. 30-40 minutes.

Dice onion, leeks, carrots, celery, and potato and add to a large pot. Add minced/pressed garlic and a dash of olive oil. Turn heat to low and saute vegetables until onions and leeks are translucent. Add vegetable broth, bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to simmer.

Once barley appears fluffy and cooked, drain if necessary, and add to the soup. Continue to allow soup to simmer. Add a dash or two of white balsamic vinegar as well as salt and pepper to taste.

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