As you may know, I love Autumn for many reasons – one of them being that it’s the start of SOUP SEASON! There aren’t many things as nurturing and comforting as a warm, hearty bowl of soup. Sharing soup recipes, or better yet, making soup for those you love, is an easy way to make the world a better place (one happy tummy at a time).
So, you can only guess how delighted I was when I received a mason jar of home-made soup, lovingly placed on my desk at work! Sweet! A big thank you to my dear friend Rosanna for her thoughtful gift, and for sharing her story and soup recipe with us.
“My Mom came across this recipe in a cookbook called Knack-Make it Easy, Low Salt Cooking by Linda Johnson Larson. She made a big batch, and generously shared a couple of containers with me. It was so delicious and hearty that it became my favourite soup. I make it so often that I never make it the same way twice. I have modified the original recipe, adding my favourite variations. I tend to use pot barley for this recipe instead of pearl barley as I find it satisfies my hunger for a longer period of time. I also keep some canned items and frozen vegetables on hand (mentioned in the recipe) to make it quicker and easier to make. Included below are some of my flavour variations. I hope this recipe becomes a favourite of yours. Enjoy!
Vegetable Barley Soup (meat option included)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced (optional)
1 (8oz) pkg mushrooms, sliced (or 1 can – Success Organic Mushroom Pieces and Stems)
4 carrots, quartered lengthwise and chopped
3 stalks celery, halved lengthwise and chopped
1- 1.5 lbs of stew beef or chicken breast/thighs/legs (fat and/or skin removed) (optional)
1 bay leaf
Herb Options – (use A or B or use all herbs together)
A. 1 tsp each dried marjoram and dried thyme OR/
B. 1-2 tsp dried basil; ½ tsp dried oregano; and 1 tbsp fresh ginger, sliced and cut into matchstick-like pieces (or minced)
6 – 8 cups broth or water and bouillon – (I use Organic Better Than Bouillon Chicken or Vegetable base that I get from Costco)
1.5 cups or half jar of Simply Natural Organic Tomato and Basil Pasta Sauce (Costco) or canned, diced tomatoes
1 cup pot barley (or pearl barley) (rinsed)
1 cup frozen peas, thawed, rinsed (Organic peas from Costco)
1 cup fresh or frozen green beans, thawed and chopped
Vegetable Options: Sweet bell peppers, chopped zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, sugar snap peas, kale, spinach, corn.
¼ tsp pepper
1 tsp Salt or to taste
Heat oil in large pot.
Meat Option: Sauté 1- 1.5 lbs of stew beef or chicken breast/thighs/legs (fat and/or skin removed) until browned. Set aside.
Add onions, garlic, mushrooms, carrots and celery; cook and stir occasionally for about 10 – 15 minutes. Add bay leaf, marjoram, thyme or basil and oregano and ginger. Simmer 2 min.
Add broth/ water & bouillon, tomatoes, barley and meat if using. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, cover pot and cook 25-35min for pearl barley or 45-55 min for pot barley – stir occasionally and add water as needed. (Remove cooked chicken from pot, shred the meat with a couple of forks and transfer back to the pot.)
Add peas, green beans or any other vegetables of your choice. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer 5-10 minutes longer until vegetables are cooked and flavours are blended. Remove from heat, remove bay leaf and serve.
Yours in good health,
Caryn and Rosanna
(photo credit: guideposts.com)