It continues to be drizzly and gray, so I made a very hearty bean and barley soup. There was a enough light to get a picture, but it is not exactly a colorful soup–more like a symphony in beige. I more or less just made up the soup with whatever was in the house, and the results were very satisfying. It somewhat reminded me of the soup mixes that come in cellophane tubes or the soups that my grandmother, A”H”, used to make.
Mushroom Barley Split Pea and White Bean Soup
onion, chopped (about 1 cup, one regular)
2 Tbl. minced garlic (2 really large cloves)
olive oil, enough to coat bottom of 6-8 quart soup pot
celery, chopped (about 1/2 cup, 2 stalks)
carrots, chopped (about 1/2 cup, 2 carrots)
potatoes, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups, or two smallish Yukon Golds)
1 cup small white beans, dried (or 1 can cooked beans)
8 ounces yellow split peas
1/2 cup barley
1 ounce dried mushrooms
2 Tbl. dill (6 cubes of the Eden brand frozen dill)
salt, pepper, to taste
about 12 cups water or stock
lemon juice (optional, to brighten the flavor if you feel it needs it)
First, prep your white beans if they are dried: boil them in water to cover for a few minutes and then let them soak in the hot water until they hydrate to the point that you can easily break one open. This should take maybe a half hour, but I am guessing because I was busy doing other stuff and wasn’t really watching the time.
Saute the onions in oil in a 6-8 quart soup pot. Add the garlic and the remaining chopped vegetables and cook for a few minutes. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper as they cook. Drain the whites beans and add them. Add the barley and split peas (wash and inspect them first, of course). Add water or stock and simmer for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, soak the mushrooms in hot water. When they are hydrated, add them to the pot. Add the dill. Adjust the seasoning of the soup with salt and pepper and continue to simmer for an hour or so until everything is tender. You might need to add more water as the soup cooks. Check on it regularly, give it the occasional stir and add water as needed to keep the soup from sticking to the bottom of the pot and being overly thick.
Update: This freezes well.