farmhouse vegetable barley soup

January 16, 2016

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I’ve quoted Tamar Adler before, author of the highly-recommended An Everlasting Meal. She says of soups that “The best soups are a day old. Soup mustn’t be fresh, but mature. They needn’t taste of their ingredients, but only give their ingredients somewhere to be left off and picked up again. I learned to make soup from my mother, whose potages contained whatever was around, much of it already cooked: roasted root vegetables, boiled potatoes or turnips, an odd handful of herbs.” Adler’s advice seems particularly apropos to this farmhouse vegetable barley soup filled with carrots, celery, potatoes, turnips. They cozy up to hearty barley, and are “picked up” and enhanced by porcini powder giving them a depth and earthiness. If this doesn’t warm you up on a cold January day I don’t know what will.

1/8 ounce dried porcini mushrooms

8 sprigs fresh parsley plus 3 tablespoons chopped

4 sprigs fresh thyme

1 bay leaf

2 tablespoons olive oil

1  1/2  pounds leeks, white and light green parts sliced 1/2 inch thick and washed thoroughly

2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

2 celery stalks, cut into 1/4-inch pieces

1/3 cup dry white wine

2 teaspoons soy sauce

Salt and pepper

10 cups veggie stock

1/2 cup pearl barley, rinsed

1 garlic clove, minced

1  1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1 turnip, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch pieces

1 cup frozen peas

1 teaspoon lemon juice

sea salt and pepper

Grind porcini with a spice grinder until they resemble fine meal, 10 to 30 seconds. Measure out 2 teaspoons porcini powder. Reserve remainder for other use. Using kitchen twine, tie together parsley sprigs, thyme, and bay leaf.

Heat olive oil in large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add leeks, carrots, celery, wine, soy sauce, and 2 teaspoons of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid has evaporated and vegetables are softened, about 10 minutes.

Add water, broth, barley, porcini powder, herb bundle, and garlic. Increase heat to high and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered, for 25 minutes.

Add potatoes and turnip. Return to simmer and cook until barley, potatoes and turnip are tender, 18 to 20 minutes.

Remove pot from heat and remove herb bundle. Stir in peas, lemon juice, and chopped parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen

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