BARLEY and VEGETABLE SOUP adapted from The Ultimate Italian Cookbook by Carla Capalbo
Ingredients: • 1 cup pearl barley • 9 cups fresh or canned beef stock or water, or a combination of both • 3 tablespoons olive oil • 2 carrots, finely chopped • 1 large onion, finely chopped • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped • 1 leek, thinly sliced • 1 large potato, finely chopped • 1/2 cup diced ham • 1 bay leaf • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley • 1 small sprig fresh rosemary • salt and freshly ground black pepper • freshly grated Parmesan cheese, to serve, optional
1. Pick over the barley. Wash it in cold water, then put barley in a large bowl, cover with cold water, and soak for at least 3 hours. 2. Drain the barley and place in a large saucepan with the stock or water. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 1 hour. Skim off any scum. 3. Stir in the oil, all the vegetables and the ham. Add the herbs. If necessary add more water. The ingredients should be covered by at least one inch. Simmer for 1 - 1 1/2 hours, or until the vegetables and barley are very tender. 4. Taste for seasoning, adding salt and pepper as needed. Serve hot with grated Parmesan, if desired.
• The soup is actually best the second day, after the starch from the potato had a chance to thicken the broth.