Friday, 4 April 2014

Toasted Barley Flour Soup with Vegetables

There is very little in this soup, and yet it seems rich and creamy in texture. That comes from the technique of toasting the barley flour before using it to thicken the soup. I seasoned it fairly lightly; you may want to add a bit more in the way of herbs and spices. Some chives or garlic might be a good addition. My chicken stock was unsalted, and so I found I needed to add about a teaspoon of salt.

4 to 6 servings
45 minutes - 30 minutes prep time

Toasted Barley Flour Soup with Vegetables

1/3 cup barley flour
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 or 3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon rubbed savory
salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 medium onions
2 cups diced peeled celeriac
OR 2 stalks celery
1 large carrot
1 tablespoon mild vegetable oil
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Heat a heavy skillet over medium heat. When it is hot, add the barley flour, and stir it with a large wooden spoon or spatula for about 5 minutes, until it has changed from a creamy white to a light buff colour throughout. It will take a few minutes to start toasting, but once it starts, it will go very quickly - this is why you must stand over it and stir it constantly. Don't let it get too dark.

When the flour is toasted, dump it at once into a large soup-pot, and let it cool. (This won't take more than a few minutes.) When it is cool, stir in a little of the cold chicken stock to make a smooth paste, and then stir in the rest, keeping the mixture smooth. Add the bay leaves, savory, salt, and pepper and simmer for about 20 minutes until thickened. Stir frequently.

Meanwhile, peel and dice the onions. Peel and dice the celeriac, or trim and dice the celery. Peel and dice the carrot.

Heat the oil in a large skillet (rinse out the flour dust if you are using the same one you toasted the flour in) and cook the onions, celeriac, and carrot over medium heat for about 10 minutes, until softened and slightly browned in spots. Add them to the soup, and continue simmering the soup until the vegetables are done to your liking; another 15 to 20 minutes. Add a little Worscestershire sauce if you like. 

Last year at this time I made Turkish Red Cabbage Salad.

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