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This soup was a staple in winter when I was little. My mum used to prepare it quite regularly, and its flavour really warms my heart up.
And it is soup-er simply to prepare. There is some prep of course, but once everything is in the pot, it’s just a matter of waiting until your dinner is ready. This soup is definitely something you’ll love on a cold winter evening. Toss the canned stuff and get ready to cook!
The original recipe requires bacon – or better, pancetta – but if you want to go vegetarian, or even vegan, actually, just leave it out. Obviously the flavour might be less round and full, but it’s still worth giving it a try.
- 4 smoked bacon rashers
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 carrots
- 3 stalks celery
- 1 leek
- 3 baby potatoes (or a normal potato)
- 200g pearl barley
- 750ml vegetable stock
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Thinly slice the bacon rashers, removing the thick fibrous fat. Leave some fat though, the softest part near the meat, to add extra flavour. Tip it in a saucepan with the oil and fry for a few minutes until crispy.
In the meantime, wash and slice the leek, peel and chop the carrot, wash and chop the celery, and peel and chop the potatoes.
Add the barley to the bacon in the saucepan, and toast it for a few minutes to develop its nutty flavour.
Tip in the vegetables – not the potatoes – and fry for a few more minutes.
Cover with boiling vegetable stock and add the potatoes. Stir well, cover and let simmer for 50 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the barley is cooked through.
Once the soup is ready, add the thyme and the garlic. Stir and let stand for 10-15 minutes. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil, and if you like, some grated parmesan on top.