Soup is the reason the trees drop their leaves, snow occurs and why blankets and fuzzy slippers were invented. Soup season is what this time of year is all about. You may have thought it was the holiday season, Valentine’s Day, s’mores, skiing or some such nonsense.
Soup is the best way to work through what is cluttering your pantry, freezer or fridge. Generally, a hot pot of soup is healthy too. With a simple base, you can build some stick-to-your-ribs meals.
I love to work tomato into most of my soup bases by using crushed tomatoes, tomato paste or sauce with dried herbs. Lemon makes the perfect secret ingredient to a finished pot of chicken-based soup. What makes a simple soup enjoyable is the ability we have to play with flavors. My Barley Squash Soup is pretty basic, but if you’d like to add sausage in the first step of preparation, give it a try! Consider using harissa, curry, or a pinch of cumin.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small (1/2 cup) onion, chopped
- 2 stalks (1/2 cup) celery, chopped
- 1 (1/2 cup) carrot, chopped
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
- 1, 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
- 2 teaspoons dried Italian herb blend
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 6-8 cups low-sodium broth
- 2 cups butternut squash, peeled cut into ½-inch cubes
- ½ cup hulled barley
- 1 bunch of kale, stems removed and chopped
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- In a large stock pot (3 quarts) over medium low heat simmer the onions with the olive oil until the onions are tender. Add the celery, carrot and garlic. Cook for 5 more minutes.
- Add the diced tomatoes, herbs, broth, squash, and barley; stir and cover. Bring to a boil. Reduce to low simmer.
- Cook for 20 minutes, until the squash and barley are tender. Add the kale and continue to cook for 10 minutes, until tender. Serve and enjoy!