Saturday, December 29, 2007

Barley Soup

Barley Soup was one of those winter staples when I was a kid. My Mom had it growing up in the Section 30 area outside of Ely MN. She learned it from her Mom, a great cook in her own right who was born and raised on a farm in South Dakota. This like almost all comfort food has its start in the simple and humble foods put together from what was available on the Farm. In this case it is the left over ham bone from a holiday dinner, barley and a few vegies that is much greater sum than the ingredients would suggest. It is so filling and comforting when there is a chill in the air.

This soup is pretty much what my Mom's version was when I was a kid. A bit more vegies and visible chunks of vegies to suit my tastes. My Mom's version bless her soul, wasn't as rich in vegies as too many of my siblings would just not eat it if they could see a carrot, celery or horrors, a bit of onion. I ask you, what the hell kind of soup doesn't have veg of some sort in it?

Now for the recipe:

Barley Soup

  • 1 large ham bone, meat cut off as close to bone as possible, coarse chopped about 2 cups
  • 1 yellow onion, coarse chopped
  • 1 c diced celery
  • 1 c chopped carrots
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 c barley
  • 2 c water
  • 2 - 3 cans low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 T chopped fresh parsley

In large stock pot add oil and heat to shimmering. Add the celery and onion, stir and salt to taste. Pepper to taste. Saute about 5 minutes until starting to turn clear. Add ham bits and cook another 5 minutes or so until the onions are clear and bits are starting to brown. Stir in barley and cook for another minute until all barley is coated and bits are starting to brown.

Add 2 c water, 2 cans chicken broth and bay leaf. Add ham bone. Cover and simmer 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the ham bone, cut off remaining meat bits and return to soup. (Toss the bone over the fence to treat the neighbors dog if you don't want to bin it). Adjust seasoning. Add the additional can of broth to bring the soup to right thickness. Barley unlike some other grains can vary on how much water it takes to cook al dente so it can take 1 2- cans of additional broth at the end to get the right soup like consistency. Add chopped parsley and bring back to simmer, approx 5 minutes. Serve hot with crusty bread or simple bread and butter.

There you go one of my family favorites for you to enjoy. Total comfort food, total peasant food, but good food is good food no matter the historical source. Long live leftovers!

No comments: