Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Creamy Tomato - Barley Soup

Yet another variation on the ever-popular tomato soup. Barley, celeriac (if you can find it) and onions give it texture, crunch, and substance. Still good with some grilled cheese!  Open faced, maybe, because that barley is filling.

By crushed tomatoes I mean canned tomatoes, chopped up. We whizz our own in the blender and can them, but I have bought crushed tomatoes that were obviously pretty concentrated. If that's what you have, use less and add some water or broth to bring them back to the consistency of actual tomatoes.

4 servings
45 minutes - 30 minutes prep time
not including cooking the barley

Cook the Barley:
1/4 cup barley
1 cups water
a pinch of salt

Put these in your rice cooker, and cook. Alternatively, cook the barley in a pot - bring it to a boil with the salt then reduce heat to as low as it will go and cook it, covered, until tender; about 45 minutes. This can be done in advance.

It's probably a good idea to cook more barley than this - the rice cooker does not deal well with such small quantities. Leftover cooked barley can be frozen, if you don't have an immediate use for it. You should have about 1 cup of cooked barley for the soup.

Make the Soup:
1 large onion
2 cups peeled dice celeriac
OR 2 stalks of celery
1/4 cup unsalted butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon rubbed savory
3/4 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 cups crushed (chopped, diced) tomatoes
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
a little cream, sour cream, or yogurt to finish

Peel and chop the onion. Peel and dice the celeriac, or trim an chop the celery. Heat the butter in the bottom of a large soup pot, and add the onion and celery once it is melted and foaming. Cook slowly for about 5 or 10 minutes, stirring regularly, until soft and translucent. Keep the heat low and don't let it brown. Butter is a little less forgiving than cooking in oil, but it really adds to the flavour of the soup.

Sprinkle the flour, savory, salt, and pepper over the onion and celeriac and mix in well; let cook for another minute or two. Then slowly mix in the crushed tomatoes and mix well. Thin with a little water or stock if the soup is too thick. Season with the Worcestershire sauce. Simmer for 15 minutes.

When you are ready to serve the soup, mix in about 1/4 cup of coffee cream but do not add it if the soup is bubbling and do not let it get hot enough to bubble thereafter. Alternatively, serve it with a dab of sour cream or yogurt to top each bowl of soup.

Last year at this time I made Thuringer Mohnkuchen: German Poppyseed Cake.

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