It’s finally March and I know that spring is just around the corner and with it some warmer, sunnier days. I still like to have a warming soup for those days when it seems like winter might be making a comeback but I like a lighter, fresher soup to go with the milder weather. This garlic vegetable soup is just the thing. It may seem like it might be a bit over powering with 2 heads of roasted garlic but trust me it’s not. I like garlic but I’m not as crazy about it as my garliholic daughter. It’s smooth and creamy, almost like a barley risotto. Don’t forget, garlic is really powerful medicine too. It has been shown to help with high blood pressure, infections, some types of cancer, arthritis and asthma.

Ingredients:

  • 2 heads garlic, roasted (recipe here)
  • 3 tabsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium sweet yellow onion, coarsley chopped
  • 4 carrots, coarsley chopped
  • 4 stalks celery, coarsley chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (optional)
  • 2 tbsp worcestershire sauce
  • 8 cups organic low-sodium chicken broth (or vegetable stock if you want to make it vegetarian)
  • 1 cup barley (or pearl barley)
  • 1 parmesan rind *see notes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 lemon (optional)

Preparation:

  1. Combine the onion, carrots, celery, and thyme in the bowl of a food processor. Squeeze the roasted garlic from their skins into the food processor along with the other ingredients.

    Process vegetables until finely chopped like confetti

  2. Process on low until the mixture is finely chopped, almost like confetti but not pureed.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a stock pot over medium heat. Add the vegetable mixture and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 8-10 minutes.
  4. Add the white wine and let simmer until almost all the liquid is absorbed.
  5. Add the worcestershire sauce and bay leaf, stir.
  6. Pour in the stock, increase heat to high and bring to a boil.

    Cooking with a parmesan rind adds a nice salty and creamy flavor

  7. Add the barley and parmesan rind and return to a boil.
  8. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer,  stirring occasionally until the barley is tender, about 60 minutes for whole barley or 40 minutes for pearl barley.
  9. Add sea salt and pepper to taste.
  10. Remove the bay leaf and parmesan rind and spoon into bowls.
  11. Garnish with a squeeze of lemon juice and chopped fresh parlsey.

Nutritional Info:

Makes approximately 10 cups.

Serving size 1 cup.

Nutrients per serving:  Calories: 88, Cal. from Fat: 44.5, Total Fat: 5g, Sat. Fat: 0.5g, Carbs: 9g, Fiber: 1.5g, Sugars: 78g, Protein: 1.5g, Sodium: 51mg, Chol: 4mg

Notes:

I get parmesan rinds from the cheese counter at Whole Foods. Sometimes they have them prepackaged. If your market doesn’t have them out ask at the deli or cheese counter. The addition of the rind when cooking the soup adds such a great flavor it’s worth the effort to find it.

This soup reheats well but the barley does soak up the  liquid so if you like a ‘soupier’ soup you will want to add a little broth when reheating.

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