Clean out the fridge soup

On the day I’m writing this it is cold. Below 40 in the morning in south Florida cold. I broke out the blueberry (the very warm winter jacket Val bought for me the first year I had Jessie), the scarf and gloves to walk Arthas. It may have been overkill to some, but it worked for me. 40 is cold, especially after ten years in Florida.

But it is also a great day to make soup and making soup means cleaning out the fridge. Soup was not on the list to make this week, but I decided to go ahead and make it since it’s cold and Bob is sick. Homemade soup is always good when you are sick.

So … I stared at the contents of my pantry and refrigerator for a bit and settled on barley and vegetable soup. I had celery on it’s last legs, carrots that I was not sure would last a whole lot longer, a zucchini I intended to use the week before and garlic that was just starting to sprout. Add some onion, a can of fire roasted tomatoes, the chard that I HAVE to use this week, vegetable stock and seasoning and you have … soup.

I have to admit, like most of the time when I just wing it in the kitchen, I got very nervous about this. It’s a lot of vegetables and if it doesn’t taste right it is a lot of food wasted. But I was pleasantly surprised. The soup has a nice depth to it and it is both light and filling at the same time. I would love to take this soup for lunch when I know I”m going to have access to a microwave, so to the freezer some of this soup will go.

Recipe:

  • Celery (about 3/4 cup, diced)
  • Carrot (about 3/4 cup, diced
  • Onion (about 1 cup, diced)
  • 2-4 cloves garlic (enough for about 2 teaspoons minced)
  • Zucchini (about 1 medium, diced)
  • 1 can fire roasted tomatoes
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 3/4 cup quick cooking barley (or grain of your choice)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 large leaves Swiss Chard, chopped including stems
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Olive oil

In a large pot heat oil. When hot, add celery, carrot, onion and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Cook over medium to medium high heat for about three minutes then add the zucchini and cook another 4-5 minutes. Stir frequently.

Add fire roasted tomatoes, vegetable broth and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Reduce heat, add barley (or other grain) and simmer, covered, on low heat for ~25 minutes.

Remove lid. Add chard and mix well. Taste and adjust seasoning again if needed. Cook on low for about 3 minutes. Serve hot with bread, and if you like, some grated cheese.

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