Sunday, November 27, 2011

Fall Vegetable Barley Soup

We're back in California after a wonderful Thanksgiving trip up to Seattle where I pitched in to create our feast of mashed potatoes with caramelized shallots; sauteed brussel sprouts with slivered almonds, lemon zest, and thyme; a roasted trio of root vegetables (sweet potatoes, butternut and kabocha squash); stuffing; and local heritage breed turkey; not to mention my sister's fabulous homemade pumpkin pies and cranberry sauce. Needless to say it was a wonderful meal!

Before we left, I made this great soup to get us ready for the holiday using up some of the fall vegetables from our last CSA box - tokyo turnips and carrots. Tokyo turnips are tender white turnips that don't need to be peeled, and this recipe even takes advantage of the greens that are attached. If your turnips don't have greens or are a harder variety, peel them before chopping and substitute the turnip greens with some kale. Even if you think you don't like turnips I encourage you to try this recipe - when they're cut up small and a component of this flavorful soup, you'll forget you ever didn't like them.

Fall Vegetable Barley Soup
Serves 4-6

Active Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

4 turnips, peeled if thick skinned, and diced into small pieces
Turnip greens from the bunch of carrots, or 1 small bunch kale, chopped
3 medium carrots, diced into small pieces (similar in size to the turnips if you can)
3-4 stalks celery, diced into small pieces (ditto on the size)
3 leeks, white and light green parts, thinly sliced
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
1 15-oz can crushed tomatoes
6 c. low-sodium vegetable broth
1 c. semi-pearled barley
1 t. dried or fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
Extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Black pepper

Heat 2 T. olive oil in a dutch oven or stockpot over medium heat. Add the turnips, carrots, celery, garlic, leeks, thyme, and a pinch of salt and pepper and saute until softened a little, about 5 minutes.

Add the broth, tomatoes, and bay leaf, and 1 t. kosher salt as well as some fresh ground black pepper and bring to a low boil. Add the barley, reduce the heat to medium low, and let cook for about 25-30 minutes or until the barley is al dente. Then, add the turnip greens (or kale) and cook while stirring for another 1-2 minutes until the greens are wilted. Taste for additional seasoning depending on the saltiness of your broth and serve.

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