Tomato Barley Soup

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Last week I made a version of my Creamy Tomato Soup, a recipe that I posted on Mon Petit Plat quite a while back. This time, though, I add some pearled barley, which gives the soup a chewy bite that I really like. Barley holds up better than pasta and makes this soup a bit more hearty and well rounded for a meal. I also topped the soup with a chiffonade of fresh basil and served with some buttered Parmesan bread and a green salad.

This tomato soup recipe is extremely versatile, as I have made it both vegan (without the cream) and just as the recipe is stated. Goat cheese and plain yogurt are also great options to stir into the soup. To make Tomato Barley Soup note the Variation at the bottom of the recipe.

Creamy Tomato Soup

Serves 6

This is your classic tomato soup – a clean canvas for whatever direction you want your meal to head. Add a chiffanode of basil and a Parmesan crostini for a gourmet Italian flair, or add those little tiny pasta stars for a walk down memory lane, or my favorite, enjoy with a crispy grilled cheese sandwich. If you are making your own vegetable stock, I suggest adding a few whole tomatoes or even a small can of tomato juice to the stock. You can even add a pinch of red pepper flakes for a bit of spice, however I try to keep the spice and herbs to a minimum with my tomato soup or else I feel like I am eating a big bowl of spaghetti sauce. This particular recipe is very basic and as usual, very easy to make.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small yellow onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
7 cups crush tomatoes (2 twenty eight ounce cans)
6 cups homemade vegetable stock (or 4 cups store bought and 2 cups water)
2 sprigs fresh thyme (optional)
1/3 cup cream
fresh ground pepper

In a medium/large heavy bottom saucepan heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and season with salt and pepper. Cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Add the tomatoes, stock and fresh thyme. Season with a bit more salt and pepper and bring everything to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer and simmer without a lid for 45 minutes.

Remove the thyme sprigs and stir in the cream. Taste for more salt and pepper. Serve warm.

Variation: Add 3/4 cup of rinsed pearled barley after you add the stock and tomatoes to make Tomato Barley Soup. Simmer the soup until the barley is tender, about 35-45 minutes. Tomato Barley Soup is good both with or without the cream.


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