Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Vegetable Barley Soup

I believe there is a soup season, a time when the weather is just right for a bowl of nice warm soup. Over this winter I know my mom and I have been having a lot soup.  I like soup a lot, especially after a soccer practice that ended up being in the snow.  So, when we got barley in our winter CSA, we were excited to make this delicious barley soup. Barley has a ton of fiber, as you might have guessed, which is great for your body. This soup is flavored with garam masala, which is a blend of ground spices common in North India and other South Asian cuisines.  This mixture of spices adds just the right amount of flavor and kick to the barley. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did and are getting ready for the farmers market!


1 tbl. olive oil
2-3 onions, chopped
3 big carrots, peeled and chopped
1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped
3 garlic cloves, split, germ removed and chopped
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
3/4 tsp. garam masala or curry powder
1/2 tsp. turmeric
6 cups homemade chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 cup pearl barley

1.  Heat the oil in a soup pot or Dutch oven.  Add the next 5 ingredients and stir them in the pot until they glisten with oil. Season with salt and pepper, cover, and cook for 5 minutes over low heat. Stir in the spices,  then cover and cook additional 15 minutes, stirring often, until the vegetables are soft but not browned.
2. Add the broth and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir in the barley. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until the barley is tender and puffed, about 20-40 minutes so you need to check it often. Season with salt and pepper if needed.

Recipe for homemade garam masala:

4 tbls. coriander seeds
1 tbl. cumin seeds
1 tbl. black peppercorns
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 & 1/2 tsp ground ginger
3-4 pods cardamon
3/4 tsp. whole cloves
2- 1" pieces of cinnamon
3/4 tsp. crushed bay leaves

1. Heat a heavy skillet over medium heat and gently roast all ingredients, except for the ground ginger, until they turn a few shades darker. Stir occasionally and be patient. Do not turn heat to high or you can easily burn the spices and ruin the overall taste.
2. Once roasted, turn off the heat and allow to cool.
3. Once cool, remove the cardammon seeds from their pods and mix them back in with the other spices. Add the ground ginger and nutmeg.
4. Grind them all together either in a mortar and pestle or clean, dry coffee grinder to a fine powder.
5. Store in an air-tight container in a cool, dark place.

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