Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Vegetable Barley Soup and January Gray

It has been a strange January with temperatures ranging from well below zero to 50 degrees, and not much snow until today.  We spent January skiing when the sun came out, ice climbing in Ouray, doing our best to enjoy the chaotic Winter X Games, and celebrating more stable jobs (I am working 15 hours per week in a clinic, and Steven is now a full time salaried employee at the school).  This January seems to be Gray.  Gray skies, gray attitudes, snowless gray streets.  So here is looking towards a February full of blue sky, more snow, health and positivity.  We are crossing our fingers for more snow in the near future, and preparing for a busy February and March.

This soup is basic.  It is the perfect cure for winter blues or grays, and is quick enough for a weeknight meal.

Vegetable Barley Soup
Adapted from Picky Cook
  • 2 large or 3 small leeks, cut in small half moons
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, plus 1 teaspoon
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 5 carrots, large dice or half moons
  • 1 large russet potato or 3 red potatoes, peeled and 1 inch dice
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 cup barley
  • 1 tablespoon sweet or smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 10 cups vegetable stock
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Minced parsley for garnish (optional)

  1. Heat olive oil, add leeks and allow to soften.  Add garlic and a pinch of salt, cook until fragrant (1 minute).
  2. Stir in carrots, celery and potato and cook about 5 minutes.
  3. Push vegetables to the side and add 1 teaspoon olive oil.  Stir tomato paste in oil until it begins to stick and darkens (1-2 minutes).  Incorporate into the vegetable mixture.
  4. Add barley and cook stirring 2 minutes.
  5. Sprinkle paprika and oregano over the mixture and stir. 
  6. Add stock and bay leaf and bring to a simmer.  
  7. Simmer 25-30 minutes until potatoes are soft and barley cooks through (this will take an extra 15 minutes at altitude). 
  8. Turn off heat and stir in lemon juice.  Serve topped with minced parsley.

View from the start deck at the X Games SuperPipe.  We got to slip between riders.
Learning the basics of digging a snow pit during a weekend avy safety course.
Clouds in the valley.

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