Gen's Summer Barley Soup
Why I Love This Recipe
FEATURING: Tomatoes, onions, garlic (or garlic scapes), eggplant, sweet peppers, kale, carrots (optional) and zucchini (optional).
An easy and lovely comforting soup that is also good on summer nights, especially as Fall nears... Instead of barley, you can also use other whole grain of your choice or pasta (especially orzo or small shells- if using pasta, just add it in in the last 8-12 min of cooking).
Ingredients You'll Need
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove (or 1 garlic scape), chopped
1/2 eggplant, skin removed (you can leave it on but more people seem to like it without), chopped in 1/2 inch cubes (you can add a little more eggplant if you want)
1-2 sweet pepper(s), chopped
2 carrot, diced (optional)
1 zucchini, sliced in quarters (optional)
4-6 cups of fresh tomatoes, diced
2 bay leaves
1 Tbsp dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil (optional)
1-2 tsp salt, or to taste
1/4 cup of pearl barley
6.5-7 cups of water (or vegetable stock)
2-3 kale leaves (or Swiss chard), cut in thin ribbons (chiffonnade) and then roughly chopped
1 x 19 oz can of kidney beans, rinsed and drained
Heat up olive oil in a large pot on medium-high heat. When hot, add onion and sautée a few minutes, until translucent. Add garlic and sautée 1 min more. Add the eggplant, sweet peppers, and carrots (if using) and sautée 2 min more. Add the tomatoes, and zucchini (if using) and sautéed a few seconds, until the veggies soften a bit but are still firm. Add the bay leaves, the oregano and basil, salt and pepper and barley and mix well and sauté for 5 min. Now add the water (or vegetable stock) and bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for approx. 30-35 min on medium heat. Add kidney beans and kale and cook 5 min more. Check barley- if cooked (soft and tender), turn off heat. Serve (make sure to remove bay leaves first) and enjoy!