basic barley soup

In place of an outside experience post, since it’s close to the holidays and we’re all hopefully enjoying some version of a vacation, I wanted to share this simple, stay-in-your-PJs-while-your-meal-cooks-itself recipe. Joe & I have recently fallen in love with barley. It’s super cheap–we’re talking maybe $2 a pound. And 1 cup of uncooked grain = 5-6 cups cooked. It’s insanity.

I threw this soup together–a riff on every basic barley stew recipe I found, taking out all meat & using just what I was able to find in our apartment. You can easily manipulate it. Cut back on liquid for a thicker stew. Leave out greens if you hate it. Add green beans or squash for more summer flavor. Obviously, my favorite recipes are the ones I can endlessly use as guidelines, then just throw together whatever is on hand.

It couldn’t be easier. In a large pot, combine:

  • 1 cup barley
  • 4 large carrots, peeled & chopped
  • 5 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 quarts vegetable stock
  • 1 quart tomato (or vegetable) juice
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp salt

Cover & let all that simmer for an hour. Then, add these last two ingredients & simmer for another 15 minutes.

  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 2 cans of red (or other) beans
  • 1 bunch kale (or collards, etc.)

This was about five quarts of soup–which for us, with a side of cornbread or salad, was five meals. I think this may become even more of a staple than the potato & greens soup we rely on. Enjoy!


About meganbetz

human geography PhD Student at Indiana University; wife, reader, writer, baker, gardener
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