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Winter Vegetable Barley Soup

I’m always looking for creative ways to use winter vegetables in meals. While we love roasted root vegetables by mid-winter we are looking for a change. Add to that the fact that homemade soup is a weekly staple in our house in winter and you have the makings of Winter Vegetable Barley Soup. We loved the texture, especially the slight bite of the barley in an otherwise creamy soup. And as a side benefit, I was able to get my youngest to eat squash since he didn’t know it was in the recipe.

Winter vegetables and barley soup
Carrots, sweet potatoes and squash add flavour and texture to winter barley soup
INGREDIENTS
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6-7 cups diced winter vegetables roughly as follows
    • one sweet potato, peeled & cubed
    • 2-3 carrots, diced
    • 2-3 cups butternut squash, diced
  • 2/3 cup pearl barley
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon each salt & pepper
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Dice vegetables so they are about 1/2 inch in size.  In total you need 6-7 cups but the mix can change slightly depending upon the size of your vegetables.
  2. Heat olive oil, add onion & garlic & heat over medium heat for about 5 minutes.  The heat should be enough that the onions and garlic start to brown but be careful not to burn the garlic or it will taste bitter.
  3. When onions start to brown add chicken broth & water.  Add vegetables, barley, thyme, salt and pepper.
  4. Gently simmer for 1 hour.  Add more water if it is becoming too thick.
  5. When the vegetable are tender, if you like, partially smash some of the squash.  This made for a slightly creamier texture to the soup.

Yield: 6-8 servings

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