Soothing Soup for Meatless Monday
Okay. I know it’s Tuesday, but yesterday Hugger Mugger was unveiling a newly organized website, so the site was offline at precisely the time I would have posted my Meatless Monday recipe. Even though it’s Tuesday, this recipe will still taste great no matter when you make it.
Do check out Hugger Mugger’s new website. It’s slick and clean and even easier to navigate than before.
Here’s yesterday’s post:
My mother was not a cook-from-scratch kind of person. She always provided balanced meals for us, but cooking was not her thing. Her creative juices instead went into her stunning, award-winning watercolors. I’m very grateful to get to enjoy her art in every room of my house. Through her paintings, her presence is always very much with me.
She did, though, have a few specialties that she cooked from scratch. My favorite was her barley soup. It contained fresh veggies and barley, probably in a chicken stock. I loved the chewy texture of the barley. Because of this soup, I’ve always had an affinity for barley.
Today’s barley soup is a riff on a soup recipe from a Vegetarian Times recipe card I bought many years ago. The squash makes it slightly sweet, while the miso gives it some tang. I also like that it’s very simple and has a short list of ingredients.
The original recipe calls for acorn squash and pearled barley. I use butternut squash instead because I find it much easier to peel. I also prefer whole, unhulled (without hulls) barley because it is a more complete food than pearled barley. It does take a bit longer to cook than pearled barley, but only by 15-20 minutes. It’s worth the wait.
I usually scatter fresh chives over this soup, but my backyard chives are presently dormant. (I have a hard time justifying paying for chives when my backyard produces such a huge amount during the season!) Parsley is also a good choice.
1/2 cup barley
1-1/2 to 2 cups peeled, cubed butternut squash
1/2 cup onion, diced
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1/2-1 teaspoon cumin powder
5 cups vegetable stock
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed
salt to taste
Sauté the onion in sesame oil for five minutes. Add the cumin and stir for another minute. Add squash, barley, chickpeas and stock. Bring to a boil, turn down heat and simmer for 20 minutes if using pearled barley, 40 minutes if using whole barley.
In a blender of food processor, process about half the soup until smooth and return to the pot. I prefer using a hand blender because you can monitor the texture of the soup. I like to leave it on the chunky side. Add salt to taste.