22 Nov 2017

Soupe du jour

Brrrr! Ooh, I'm feeling the chill today - probably because I've not been darting around outdoors.  Instead, I've been sitting indoors trying to write this morning but thoughts of a bowl of tasty warming soup kept popping into my head. And then I thought, why not share?





Brewing up on the stove top today is a pearl barley and kale broth. I love that any vegetables from the garden, in almost any combination, can make a delicious soup.  I've got many recipes tucked up my sleeve, so to speak, but this one seems to be the one hitting the spot nicely at the moment. It's not my recipe but one that I saved in January last year as it uses some of my favourite garden veg and is thickened with pearl barley. I was always told that pearl barley is good for you, very healthy and restorative. I used to be given lemon barley water when I was sick as a child - apparently it boosts the immune system and settles a dodgy tummy. Useful to remember that as we head into the season of colds and flu!

Actually, everything in this broth is amazingly healthy, packed with vitamins, anti-oxidants and even more so if you make it with a bone broth.  I used homemade veg stock this time but sometimes just reach for the little pot of Marigold bouillon powder. If using Marigold, be cautious with other seasonings as it can be a bit salty - I learned that the hard way!


It never fails to thrill me that I can pop down to the garden and pick fresh produce to cook with. Inspiration to make this soup came from the sight of the kales growing in the veg patch and the carrots that I grew at the plot. The rosemary needed is growing on my balcony and although I didn't grow onions or garlic myself this year (those photos are from past harvests) those are ingredients that my kitchen is never without. The only ingredient I couldn't grow myself is the pancetta or bacon ... !

So, fancy giving it a go? It's very straightforward and takes about an hour from start to finish.

For two generous servings, you'll need:  Olive oil, a large shallot or half onion, a large carrot (peeled and diced), approx 40g diced pancetta or bacon, a fat clove of garlic (more if you like), a sprig of rosemary (leaves finely chopped), a good pinch of chilli flakes, 600ml hot stock, 50g pearl barley and 125g chopped up kale.

Sweat the chopped onion and carrot for around 6 minutes, then add pancetta and cook for another 4 minutes. After that, add chopped garlic, chilli flakes and rosemary; stir round and cook for 1 minute. Add the pearl barley and hot stock, give it a stir, bring just up to the boil, put a lid on the pot and simmer for about 45 minutes until the barley is tender.  Add the chopped up kale and let it wilt down by stirring it through then cook for another 5 minutes.  Ladle into bowls and top with grated parmesan.  Delicious, filling and so satisfying, especially when you know that the ingredients are freshly gathered and home grown!

What's your favourite garden grown recipe at the moment?

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10 comments:

  1. That soup sounds delicious! I do have some pancetta in the freezer so I have all the requisite ingredients to give it a go.

    My go-to veg soup is very similar (sautéed onion, carrots, chicken stock, a bit of pureed tomato) then simply add to it depending on what I feel like or what needs using up (kale? turnips? beans? squash? or how about those slow roasted cherry tomatoes that are now in the freezer?). And I always finish it with parmesan.

    I don't use pearl barley a lot - I do enjoy it but it just never occurred to me to add that in. You have inspired me to change that and I'll be adding it to my list of options when making my vegetable soup.

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    1. Thank you, Margaret. Your go to sounds delicious too - and I love that you can add whatever you happen to have in or feel like on that day! A woman after my own heart, for sure! :) The pearl barley addition is fab, makes a change from adding potato, although you could also add tiny pasta a la minestrone. Ooh! Kitchen adventures! xx

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  2. Oh that looks and sounds most delicious Caro and must have warmed you up. It's been quite mild here today in the north west but very dark and damp. Definitely an indoors day. Not homegrown although some of the ingredients could be, we've recently been enjoying a frozen pea, leek and chicken tray bake with a splash of vermouth thrown in for good measure. The only other ingredients are sea salt, olive oil and dill. Only fifteen minutes to prepare and oh so tasty :)

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  3. Homemade, homegrown vegetable soup is in a league of its own isn't it. Never fails to make me feel amazing. Hope the writing is going well. I know what you mean about feeling chilly from sitting around indoors. I am usually to be found clutching a hot water bottle. CJ xx

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  4. That looks and sounds delicious. Enjoy. xx

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  5. I love homegrown vegetable soup but have to day I have never liked pearl barley.

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  6. Looks lovely, many thanks for posting! I may give it a try soon. Jenny

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  7. You simply can't go wrong with soup in the winter, it's the perfect comfort food for these chilly days. Vegetables go so well with each other, it's hard to go wrong. My favourite is carrot and lentil soup with kale, spinach and spring onions thrown in, but then I'm enjoying potato and leek too.....lovely post, I must sort a fresh pan of soup tomorrow. You have me craving it!xxx

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  8. That sounds delicious Caro, I love home made soup & you've inspired me to make some this weekend!

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