Thursday, July 18, 2013

Chilled Cucumber-Barley Soup

I was reading this recipe in the L.A. Times, and it sounded like tzatziki sauce with barley, but I decided to give it a try anyway.

Yes, that is what it tastes like, but I liked it.  The barley makes it a nutritionally complete, light meal.  The yogurt gives it a tang.  I can see the jalapeño improving it, but that wasn't an option for me so I put in a little extra onion.  I felt like I should have something else with it for my meal, but I couldn't think of what and let it stand on its own.  I would suggest serving this as an appetizer, so the guests don't ask themselves the same question.  If you were to serve it with fresh veggies on the side, they might think it was a dip.  Maybe a lemon wedge as garnish?

1 C pearl barley
3 C water
salt to taste
4 C (1 quart) fat-free yogurt (not Greek)
1 pound cucumbers
*2 cloves garlic, minced
*1/2 C finely diced red onion
*1 Tb chopped fresh mint, divided
*3 Tb fresh or 1 Tb dried dill, divided
1 to 2 C milk
*1/2 C chopped walnuts
*Paprika for garnish

1.  To cook the barley, place in a medium saucepan and cook dry over medium heat until toasted, about 10 minutes.  Stir periodically to avoid burning.  Carefully add water and 1/2 tsp salt, stir to combine, and simmer until tender, about 35 minutes.  Drain and set aside to cool to room temperature.

2.  Peel cucumbers, seed if desired, and grate finely into a large bowl.  This isn't as hard as it sounds.  Cucumbers grate very easily, even on a box-grater by hand.  Stir in yogurt, garlic, onion, 2 tsp mint, and 2 Tb/tsp of dill until combined.  Add barley and stir.  Taste and add salt as needed.  Chill at least a couple of hours before serving.

3.  When ready to serve, add milk until desired texture is achieved, at least 1 C.  Portion into bowls.  Garnish with walnuts, paprika, and reserved mint and dill.

Serves 6 as an appetizer, 4 as a meal

Difficulty rating :)

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