Recipe 35: The autumn is definitely here so last night i decided to make this soup my mum used to cook often in the winter. I love the pearl barley because it’s lighter but much more consistent than the rice and with a very particular taste and “texture”. When you cook the barley in fact it seems letting out some sort of amid that make the soup even more saucy and creamy.
However, if you have never try it before, just cook this recipe and you will understand what I’m speaking about. The ingredients for 2 people are: 100-120 gr of pearl barley, 1 big potato, 1 celery, 1 carrot, 1 little onion or shallot, some olive oil, a little chili, rosemary and nutmeg if you like it, 70 gr pancetta or speck if you can find it, 50-100gr kidney beans in spring water, 2 vegetable stocks, some mushrooms and some Parmesan or Pecorino cheese.
Considering the ingredients, i have also chosen this dish to participate to “in the bag” food blog event organized by the blog “A slice of cherry pie‘. I hope they will include me in the round-up!
To cook the barley i suggest you to follow the instruction on the product, because i think everyone is slightly different. To cook mine i had to place it in a sauce pan and cover it with cold water. Let it boil and just after drain it and pass it under cold water. Then you need to place it again in the sauce pan, again covered with cold water and wait 1 hour and 1/4 to have it ready. Yes, it’s a bit long but it’s worth it.
As soon as was starting this second part of the cooking process i added 2 vegetable stocks.
In the meantime that the barley is cooking, clean and cut in little pieces the carrot, the celery, the onion, the potato, some mushrooms and the chili. Put everything in a pan with a bit of boiling olive oil and let it cook. When almost ready, add also the pancetta and the rosemary. Of course if you want a vegetarian version you can also avoid the pancetta and I’m sure the taste will be amazing anyway.
If the water of the barley will reduce a lot, add some other but i suggest a bit worm to don’t stop the cooking process. Around half an hour before the end of the cooking timing, add the mixed vegetable and pancetta to the barley and mix it all. Add at this point some nutmeg too and some more warm water.
Let cook everything for at least 20 minute (the carrots and the potatoes take a bit long to get soft) and then try the soup. Adjust the taste with some salt if needed and add now also some kidney beans. The ones sold in spring water don’t need to boil and are ready to be eaten, so just add them at the end.
When the barley has absorbed all the water, becoming a thick and creamy soup, just add some grated Pecorino or Parmesan cheese, in the pan. Mix a bit and serve it hot!
PS. Mamy questa devi provare a fartela pure te. Sono infatti convinta che la tua era senza pancetta o speck, ma avendo un po’ di avanzi nel frigo, ho mischiato tutto e l’unione di tutti questi sapori ci sta benissimo! A Nathalie avevo servita una bella porzione e se l’e’ spazzolata! Poi sai che l’orzo ha veramente pochissime calorie? Buonissimo!