This soup reminds me of my grandmother, it is like something she would have made, although she would have used a beef or lamb stock. I’m a much more slap dash cook than my grandma, who was very careful in the way chopped her vegetables and put food together. That was always the essence of grandmother food for me the extra care and devotion that went into it. Because this soup reminds me of my grandma I take extra care and devotion when I make it. I cut all the vegetables small and regular, just like she would have done. I even take special care with the parsley and slice it extra finely so it gives the broth a delicate look which is just the thing when you’re feeling poorly. I like cooking food that connects me to the past and to loved one that are no longer with us, like I’m continuing a never-ending story of food, family and love.
Pearl barley broth
Adapted from River Cottage Veg everyday! by Hugh Fearnly- Whittingstall
- 15 grams butter
- 2 large onions, finely chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- a few sprigs of thyme, leaves only, chopped
- 1 small celery stalk, finely chopped
- 1 small carrot, finely chopped
- 1 small parsnip, finely chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
- A few gratings of nutmeg
- A good pinch of cayenne pepper
- A good pinch of ground mace (optional)
- 100 grams (3.5 ounces) barley, rinsed
- 1.5 litres vegetable stock
- A small handful of parsley, finely chopped
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Heat butter in a large saucepan. Saute onions with bay leaf and thyme until onion is soft and translucent. ( About 15 minutes) Add carrot, parsnip and celery and saute for another five minutes. Stir in the coriander, nutmeg, cayenne and mace.
- Add the barley, pour in stock and season with salt and pepper. Simmer for about 25-30 minutes until barley is very soft and remove bay leaf.
- You can serve this soup as a broth or if you prefer a thicker soup take a cup of soup, puree in a food processor until smooth then return it to the soup. If you making this soup ahead of time, it will thicken up over night and make this step unnecessary. Just before serving stir in parsley and adjust seasoning if necessary.