Saturday, 21 May 2016

Hearty Pearl Barley Soup

 Soup is soup ! really who needs a recipe for soup?. If you have never cooked soup before you might need to read one but for most of us it is a matter of just throwing a bunch of ingredients into the pot or slow cooker and letting it cook. If you're reading my little blog you will know I cooked soup last week, well the bloke complained he woke up in the middle of the night hungry and he was never having soup for dinner again. I was also informed that he didn't like pearl barley that was why I didn't add it last week. So what did I make today ? you got it vege, ham and pearl barley soup to bad if he didn't like it, I do. testing out my new 6.5 liter crockpot (slow cooker) I went crazy . ( I am no stranger to slow cookers I have been using them for 40 years I love them my last one broke though and I had to search for a really big one. I got this one from Woollies for the bargain price of 30 bucks, anyway the bloke had a choice he could have 2 minute noodles or try my hearty soup (which really was more like a meal) .He made a wise choice and tried my hearty soup, and of course it was a hit ... You know you have done good when you get someone to eat something they insist they hate haha ... Now this might seem like a chuck it in the pot sort of soup but....
You see at Xmas I get given a half leg of ham no way could I eat it all so when I get it I dissect it completely and freeze it keeping it for the upcoming supply of winter soups that I love so much  and it gets done like this, I make ham steaks, bags of diced ham for pizza's etc, bags of ham bits for soups and stews, and all the scraps go into a pot and fresh stocks are made then frozen, the leg bone also gets frozen to make a fresh stock in winter for the pea and ham soup. nothing gets wasted... you can use any stock for your soups but I would urge you to make your own. it is a great way to use any old veges in the crisper as well ..and by golly they just taste so much better than any commercial product for one you know what is in it and it is fresh .... so the stock I used for this soup was a ham stock I made months ago at Xmas.
 For this hearty meal I don't measure anything either I just chuck it all in I have been doing it for so long  you just know by looking at it what it needs  but it filled my 6 liter pot no worries at all  and it was probably a little to thick easily fixed if you like it more soup like just add more stock or water personally I like it pretty thick with just enough liquid  for my crunchy bread or toast to soak up.
Packed with awesome goodness this is great to take to work as well on those chilly days and will save you a fortune  rather than buying your lunch.
Soups are so easy to do, depending on the size of your pot or slower cooker will depend on the amount of veges used so I wont put in the amounts I will leave that to you It doesn't matter if it is thick like mine, though it freezes better thick and you can always add more liquid.

What you need:

 Stock, A good homemade one. or good quality , chicken, beef, vegetable it is up to you. ( I used a homemade smoked ham stock)
Diced ham ( I used about 2 cups)
Celery (diced)
Carrots (diced)
Leek (diced)
Potato (diced a little larger than the other veges)
Green Beans
tomato paste ( a couple tablespoons)  you could also used tin tomatoes
bay leaves (3 at least)
3 large cloves of garlic minced with sea salt
A good pinch of smoked paprika
Pearl Barley ( careful with it it swells up) I used 1 1/2 cups for a 6.5 liter pot
Herbs of your choice . I go crazy and add what I have this batch had parsley, sage, thyme, a bit of tarragon

What to do:

1. Saute the ham bits in a pan just till they start to caramelize, transfer to slow cooker
2. Saute the celery and carrots and transfer that to the slow cooker
3. Saute the leek and minced garlic with a little olive oil and also transfer that to the slow cooker.
4. Add the stock tomato paste,  all the herbs bay leaves salt pepper
5. Add the potatoes, and beans stir well and cook on high for about an hour, then add the pearl barley and cook for a further 3-4 hours but this will depend on your slow cooker

Vegetable, Ham and Pearl Barley Soup

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