Thursday, May 15, 2014

Green Soup with Barley

I'm not exactly on a cleanse diet, but I ate very unhealthy food on my trip.  And a lot of cheese, including about half a pizza and a bowl of rarebit.  Only put on a little weight, but I feel the need for some serious veggies and lighter fare.  My first breakfast after I got back was oatmeal, and lunch was half a wheat roll with marinated olives and feta accompanied by a sliced apple.  I was just as full as if I had gone out for something much larger.

I remember seeing this recipe in the Times a long time ago for Mixed Greens Soup.  It was similar to my Spice Soup, so I didn't cut it out.  I'm very surprised they still have it online.  The gist of it is that you simmer any dark, leafy greens you like with some seasonings and put it in the blender.  Despite it being close to 100º this week, that sounded like a good idea that would ease my conscience.  Besides, Kale grew very well while I was gone and needed a trim.

The barley is my addition to add a little body, because I forgot to buy a potato, and because I wanted to make some grapefruit barley water and would have some cooked barley left over.  It also ups the calories enough to make this count as a dinner item when paired with rye bread and bleu cheese.  The second day, I tried it chilled.  You need to add more salt, and it tastes a lot like a kale smoothie, but it isn't horrible.

1/2 C dry pearl barley
*1 qt vegetable broth
1 bunch green onions
*1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tb olive oil
1 lb raw spinach, stems removed
4 C dark greens such as kale, mustard, or collard
1/4 C cream
salt and white pepper to taste

1.  In a medium saucepan, cover barley with about 3 C water.  Bring to a boil, lower to a simmer, and cook for 1 hour.  Make rest of soup while it's simmering.

2.  In a soup pot, heat oil.  Chop green onions and sauté in oil until slightly tender.  Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes.

3.  Add broth, spinach, and greens.  Lightly sprinkle with salt.  Cover and simmer until greens are wilted and mostly cooked, about 15 minutes.

4.  In batches, run mixture through blender or food processor until smooth.  If you want a very smooth soup, strain.  Return to pot and bring back up to a simmer.  Add cream.  Taste and add salt and white pepper as necessary.

5.  Drain excess liquid from barley.  Portion soup into bowls, then spoon a mound of barley into each bowl.  Make sure it mounds up over the surface level of the soup, or it's just going to look like lumpy green stuff.

6.  To serve cold, chill soup and barley separately, taste soup and add more salt if needed.  Portion same as above.

Difficulty rating  :)

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