It’s the perfect day for a soup post. There’s a cold front lingering, skies full of low clouds, and rain. I love me some rain. And I love me some soup on a rainy day! Love. Love. Love. The only caveat is this recipe was only rated two out of five stars, so whether it qualifies as good eats is debatable. Having now cooked and served it, I think two stars is probably about right if you prepare the soup as suggested. Personally, I found it a bit too sweet; the result of using both carrots and parsnips, both of which have a very sweet taste.
The first thing I’d do differently to bump up the savoriness would be to swap out the carrots or parsnips for another veggie. I might replace the parsnips with potatoes, for instance. Or, leave the parsnips and replace the carrots with tomatoes so you still have some nice color in the finished product. Unless you like sweet soup, that is. My husband said he thought it was good, but probably because I had warned him ahead of time it was fairly sweet. Another option would be to hit it with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a little extra salt once you’ve ladled it into bowls.
Either way, this soup was really hearty and filling, and scored high in the healthy eating category. The kid-rating was notably low, though, but I think she picked up on my “too sweet” vibe. Make a few alterations to bring out a more savory quality and I think it would actually please everyone. Enjoy!
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion, cut into small dice (1 cup)
- 1 large rib celery, cut into 1/4-inch dice (3/4 cup)
- 1 pound assorted root vegetables, such as parsnips, carrots, rutabaga and/or turnips, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 6 cups low-sodium or homemade chicken broth
- 1/3 cup pearled barley
- 1 cup frozen sweet peas
- 4 ounces cooked ham, cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 3 tablespoons chopped chives
Heat the oil in a 4- to 6-quart pot over medium heat. Add the onion and celery; cook for 3 minutes, stirring, then add the diced root vegetables. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring, for 8 to 10 minutes, until the vegetables start to soften.
Stir in the broth and barley. Once the liquid begins bubbling at the edges, cover the pot and adjust the heat so the liquid maintains a little movement. Cook for 45 to 55 minutes or until the barley is done and the vegetables are tender.
Uncover; add the peas and ham. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring a few times, until the peas are tender. Stir in 2 tablespoons of the chives.
Divide among individual bowls; top each portion with a sprinkling of the remaining chives, or some freshly grated Parmesan cheese.