Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Winter Soup (With Kale and Barley)

Hello everyone. It's been a long, loooong time since I've posted anything on here, so I figured it was time to fix that. Do enjoy!

So, you're getting kind of hungry. You check out your stash of food, and what do you find? Some chard that Molly grew that's threatening to go bad, some Guinness you're not sure you're ever going to get around to drinking, some veggie broth, a bunch of frozen beans, some dried barley, a couple taters and a couple onions. What do you do? If you're like me, make some soup!

Winter Soup (With Chard and Barley!)

Before I embark, the whole idea behind my soup-making philosophy is that you don't go out and buy ingredients for soup. You make soup with whatever you have. So if what you have is different from the ingredients I listed here, don't make it like I made it – do you're own thing. It's all simple and sustainable and stuff.

Second thing is I recommend making your own broth. All you really have to do is collect the not-so-edible parts of your vegetables in a bag and stow them in the freezer. Once you have a bunch, just boil them for a couple hours and throw the veggie bits in the compost. The only tricky part is determining what veggie bits will keep long enough (leek greens, onion peels, broccoli stems...) and what will slime up on you (bell pepper caps, leafy matter, etc.)

2 onions, diced
3 cups cooked kidney beans (you can use whatever kind. They can also just be soaked if you add them earlier in the recipe so that they have an hour or more to cook)
1 ½ cups dried barley

1 tbs butter

2 bunches of chard or other greens 2-4 taters
~2 quarts veggie stock
2 bottles of beer (I used Guinness)

2 or 3 bay leaves

4-6 cloves garlic, sliced on a bias

1 tsp oregano

1 tsp thyme
½ tsp tarragon


1. Melt the butter in the bottom a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until translucent. Add about half the garlic and saute for another 2 minutes.
2. Add the broth, the beer, the potatoes and the barley (basically whatever starch you're adding to the soup). You want to make sure you have enough broth to cover the other ingredients (you can add water if you run out). If your beans have merely been soaked instead of cooked, add them now too.
3. Bring the pot to a simmer (I usually crank it up to high to do this, then turn it back down once it starts to bubble). Add the seasonings, the rest of the garlic and the kale and resume simmering.
4. Let the soup simmer for at least half an hour and stir thoroughly. Serve nice and hot in a bowl.

There you have it. I personally found it to get better over night once the flavors had a chance to really come together. It's excellent with some home-baked bread... but that's another recipe :)

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