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Tomato barley soup with feta and green onion biscuits

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In Praise of Leftovers

(Read caption) This soup works well as leftovers, and also incorporates lots of staples you're likely to have on-hand.

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Three generations. Riding bikes in the sun. 

After our bike ride with Grammy, Poppy, and the kids yesterday, I told Yancey, "This is a very short window. The oldest are healthy, the youngest can ride a 2-wheeler, and the 10 year-old still wants to be with us." A little blip on the screen, really. And all the more precious for it.

After our ride, we came back to the house and grandparents played cards with kids while I made dinner. We have people over a couple times a week, and I usually plan ahead more than I did last night. Nothing prepped, chopped, or even dreamed up.

Enter Refrigerator Soup, though I've named it something else here. A vegetable soup like this: 

1. ... is a wonderful way to pack in oodles of veggies.

2. ... makes great leftovers (not that I have ever devoted any time to thinking about that).

3. ... is endlessly variable.

4. ... makes a pretty picture.

5. .. kind of demands biscuits. I made a divine variation. (See recipe below.)

Tomato barley soup
The great thing about a soup like this is that it's almost impossible to mess it up. Don't go light on the salt, taste as you go, and have fun cleaning out your fridge!

1/4 cup olive oil

1 large onion, finely chopped or thinly sliced

2 large carrots, finely chopped

1 large red bell pepper, finely chopped

4 cloves minced garlic

2 cans chicken stock (or water)

1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes with juice

1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes

1/2 head of small cabbage, finely shredded

Few big handfuls of chopped fresh kale 

1/2 cup quick-cooking barley (or 1 cup cooked grain, like rice)

Big handful fresh basil, coarsely chopped

Juice of 1/2 lemon

Lots of coarse salt

Pepper 

1. Heat up the olive oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven. Add onion and cook for 5 minutes. Add carrots, red pepper, and garlic, and sauté until soft, about 10 more minutes. 

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