It's cold and rainy outside, so I'm staying warm with homemade soup. Making soup is easy and tastes much better than anything you get from a can. Plus, a batch usually makes enough for lunch the next day.
For this recipe, I wanted something a little heartier and chunkier than just a broth-based soup, more like a stew. So I roasted up pretty much all the leftover bits of produce I had in the kitchen (did I mention soups are also an amazing way to use up random odds and ends?) and added homemade broth, some stewed tomatoes, and a bit of barley for added texture and fullness.Roasting the vegetables is key in this soup; it brings a whole new flavor and dimension to the vegetables. If you've never cooked with barley this may be a good place to start. Barley has a creaminess when cooked, but retains a nice chewy bite. If you can't find it or prefer a gluten-free option, go with brown rice.
Roasted Vegetable & Barley Soup
3/4 pound new potatoes, cut into quarters
1 onion, roughly chopped
2 medium carrots, sliced on the diagonal 1/4-inch thick
1 small fennel bulb, sliced on the diagonal 1/4-inch thick
1/4 pound crimini or button mushrooms, quartered
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups vegetable broth
2 14-ounce cans stewed tomatoes, undrained
1/3 cup pearl barley
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh thyme
Place oven rack 4-6 inches from top of oven. Turn on the broiler. Toss the potaotes, onion, carrots, fennel, mushrooms, and garlic in the olive oil. Spread out on a large baking sheet and place under the broiler for 10 minutes or just until they are barely softened. Remove and let cool.
Meanwhile, in a large pot, bring the vegetable broth, tomatoes, and barley to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 15 minutes. Stir in the roasted vegetables, salt, pepper, and thyme. Simmer everything for another 15-20 minutes or until the barley is tender.
Jacquelyn Scoggin became a vegetarian at age 16 and has since been in the kitchen whipping up meals for her family and friends. She writes and photographs her love for vegetarian food on her blog, So Good & Tasty. In 2009, she and her husband started Slide Sideways, a graphic design and handmade business. They maintain their love for the environment by using organic fabric, recycled paper, and environmentally friendly cleaning products.