I was visiting my daughter in Denver this past November. After she picked me up from the airport we drove to the Cherry Creek and had lunch at True Food Kitchen. Our waitress was beyond helpful with my daughter’s diet restrictions. We ordered more than we could eat because EVERYTHING sounded so good. We started with a bowl of vegetable soup with spicy chicken sausage. The flavors took me back to my mom’s vegetable soup that she made while I was growing up.
My mom’s soup always began with a big old beef soup bone that simmered with the vegetables all day. That is why my previous post was on how to make beef stock. I’m sure you are thinking that you can just go buy a good quality beef stock and save yourself the trouble. I know that’s what you’re thinking. I have kids so that always puts me a step ahead – right? I remember a time when my adult son said, “You really DO have eyes in the back of your head”. I do!
I thought it was very interesting that Food52 posted an article on making homemade soup stock to “elevate your soups”. Now I have back up. It’s just like when I used to tell my kids something and they were not quite sure they believed me. After discussing the issue with another adult, friend or teacher, they would report, “hey mom, you were right. Mr. Somethingorother said the same thing.” How about that. Sometimes I DO know what I’m talking about. Anyway, read the posts they are filled with wonderful tips for making stocks.
Besides the fabulous flavor homemade stock gives soups, you know exactly what is in your stock.
I love brothy soups. I could have soup everyday and never tire of them. Vegetable soup being favorite.
Let make my mom’s vegetable soup.
Peel and dice the carrots.
Dice the celery.
Don’t throw out the celery leaves. Chop those as well. They are wonderful in soups.
Peel and cut the onion then dice.
Wash the potato well. You can peel the potato or leave the skin on. Your choice. I prefer to omit the potato, but my dad really likes them in his soup. So I’m adding potatoes for him.
You can customize your vegetable soup. Add your favorite veggies. Add fine diced zucchini, parsnips, sweet potatoes, butternut squash. It’s your soup. I can’t add zucchini because my husband has mental issues with any form of squash. He claims he is deathly allergic.
In a large pot add 2-3 tablespoons olive oil.
Add the chopped vegetables and saute them until the onion and celery become transparent.
I missed the photo of the veggies sauteing. I just keep jumping ahead of myself. Sorry.
Add the beef stock and bring to a simmer.
Add 1/3 cup pearl barley.
I like to give my tomatoes a quick whirl in the blender.
Let me note that San Marzano tomatoes are fabulous in this soup recipe. Home bottled tomatoes are a very close second.
Add the blended tomatoes to the pot.
I don’t salt my stocks. I like to wait until I am using the stock to adjust the seasoning.
The soup will reduce and concentrate the flavors, so don’t add too much salt.
Add several grinds of pepper to taste.
Let the soup simmer over medium-low heat for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Stirring occasionally so the barley doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
Taste again to adjust the salt and pepper.
The vegetables and barley are tender.
Chop a handful of fresh parsley.
Chop about a tablespoon or so of fresh thyme.
Add to the soup.
At this point I like to add a pinch of red pepper flakes. I love to have just a bit of heat to my soup…more like everything.
I think you’ll love it. Oh, I’m so excited for dinner. Serve with hot crusty bread for a perfect meal.
Vegetable barley soup. My comfort food.
Vegetable Barley Soup
Homemade stock lends the best flavor to the soup, and it's so comforting on a winter day to have a hearty meal with exactly the ingredients you want.
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion diced
- 2-3 carrots diced
- 2-3 celery ribs with leaves diced
- 1 potato diced
- 1/3 cup pearl barley
- 28 oz can San Marzano tomatoes
- 8-10 cups beef or vegetable stock
- fresh parsley
- fresh thyme
- salt and pepper to taste
Heat oil to a large heavy pot. Add onion, carrots, celery, and potato. Saute until the onion and celery become translucent. Add beef stock and pearl barley. If desired, tomatoes can be put in a blender and slightly blended then added to soup. Simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until vegetables and pearl barley are tender. Add fresh parsley and thyme. Add salt and pepper to taste.
I have added other vegetables to this soup. Options are: diced zucchini, golden beets, sweet potatoes, butternut sqash. You can, also, add macaroni or other pasta. Fresh cheese tortellini added is delicious.