Thursday, October 9, 2008

Vegetable Barley Soup

I think that it’s Indian Summer!

From what I have heard, Indian Summer is a prolonged period of warm weather after a frost. Well, our frost was a light one, and it happened a few days ago. Today was sunny and bright, the temperature reached 70 degrees, and the same is forecast for the next 4 days (with temps increasing into the mid-70’s).

Welcome back, summer—please warm my house!

We’ve resisted turning on the furnace so far. It has been a bit nippy in the mornings, but I keep envisioning the heating bills climbing during the winter and I am convincing myself that the longer I delay using heat in the house, the more money we will save. Yeah, right. But it makes me feel virtuous!

Today for lunch I made vegetable soup. I had several bits of vegetables (half a red pepper, a piece of yellow squash, etc.) which were crowding the bin in my refrigerator. Wild rice seemed appropriately hearty, but I guess that I used my supply last winter/spring and never replenished. So I chose pearled barley, which added a wonderfully chewy texture to the soup.

I thawed a few slices of Whole Wheat Italian Bread to serve alongside, and this made a wonderfully satisfying autumn lunch.

* Exported from MasterCook *

Vegetable Barley Soup

Recipe By: Vicci
Servings: 4

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
2/3 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/3 cup diced carrot
1 teaspoon minced garlic
6 cups low sodium vegetable broth
2/3 cup pearled barley
2/3 cup diced tomato
2 teaspoons fresh, chopped rosemary (or ¾ teaspoon dried, crumbled)
1 cup chopped zucchini
2 tablespoons fresh basil (or 2 teaspoons dried, crumbled*)
4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese -- divided

Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat; add onion, pepper, and carrot and sauté for 3 minutes. Stir in garlic and stir for a minute, then slowly pour in the vegetable broth. Bring this to a boil, add the barley, return to a boil, and simmer for 20 minutes.

Stir in the tomatoes, zucchini, and fresh (or dried) rosemary.
*- If using dried basil, add the entire amount.
Simmer for 10 minutes.

Just before serving, stir in 1 tablespoon fresh basil. Ladle into soup bowls, sprinkle with remaining basil and grated Parmesan.

"8 cups"

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Per serving: 256 Calories (kcal); 3g Total Fat (1g Saturated); (11% calories from fat); 23g Protein; 36g Carbohydrate; 4mg Cholesterol; 881mg Sodium
Food Exchanges: 1 1/2 Grain(Starch); 2 Lean Meat; 1 Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 1/2 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates