Making soup to me is always a form of therapy. It’s a way to nourish my body and those of my diners while still having an easy time of it. It’s a time of creating something where rules can be broken and liberties can be taken and that’s exactly what I did here. I found this recipe in one of my well-used cookbooks that Matt’s mom gave me called ’12 Months of Monastery Soups’ by Brother Victor-Antoine d’Avila-Latourrette. It’s a great cookbook emphasizing simplicity and using ingredients according to the seasons.
I have been wanting to make a soup with Pearl Barley for some time now and had a bag of it lurking in my cupboards just waiting for me to take it to task. Today was its lucky day! I found several pearl barley recipes in the monastery cookbook and chose the one titled ‘Polish Pearl Barley Soup’. I used the recipe as a loose guideline for my final product mostly because I was missing some of the ingredients and didn’t really feel like going to the grocery store to get them, not because I was feeling overly creative.
Here are the ingredients I used in my final version:
4 tablespoons of vegetable oil
1 whole bunch of scallions, diced
3 organic carrots, peeled and sliced
1/2 of a large vidalia onion, diced
3 organic celery stalks, chopped
8 cups of water
3 cubes of Rapunzel brand Vegan Vegetable Bouillon with Sea Salt & Herbs
1 cup of Pearl Barley
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup of organic spinach chopped up.
Basically in a big soup pot I sauteed the scallions, onion, carrots and celery for a few minutes until the onion was getting a little translucent. I then added all the rest of the ingredients except for the spinach and sour cream into the pot with the sauteed veggies and brought it all to a wonderful boil. After it reached a nice boil I reduced the heat to simmer, covered the pot and let it do it’s lovely soup magic for about 50 minutes.
At the end of the 50 minutes I removed the soup from the burner and added the chopped spinach to the soup and stirred until it was just wilted but still really nice and green. I served the soup in bowls with a nice dollop of sour cream in the middle. I also made a few slices of toasted french bread with herbed goat cheese to serve on the side.
Overall it was a really tasty and satisfying soup. The little spoonful of sour cream added a really nice creaminess to the soup that only sour cream can. The taste was perfectly balanced and made me extremely happy especially because I improvised so much with the original recipe. I think I’ll continue to make this soup my way. It’s too good to mess with in my opinion. The scent filled my house with an olfactory trigger reminding me of days as a child watching T.V. and waiting for dinner to be done. It gave me the wonderful warm fuzzies associated with that memory of the innocence of childhood and just for an afternoon all the complexities of modern life melted away. It made for a really nice meal for a lazy afternoon watching old John Wayne movies with my better half, Matt.