Winter came and went in one day in South Florida. It happened on Friday, December 30, 2016, when the temperature barely climbed into the mid – 60’s during the day and dipped into the low 50’s at night. I hear what you’re saying …”She calls THAT winter?!?” Well, that’s how our winters are. Believe me, I’ve shoveled enough snow during my years in New Jersey, so I delight in the south’s version of this season!
This ‘cold spell’ prompted me to bring out the big pot and make some stick-to-your-ribs soup. I prepared Kale and Pearl Barley Soup to satisfy our tummies and our souls.
Kale and Pearled Barley Soup topped with Crumbled Feta Cheese
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Kale and Pearl Barley Soup
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 medium carrots, coarsely chopped
1 medium yellow onion, coarsely chopped
2 ribs celery, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
4-6 cups (or more!) chicken broth (Vegetable broth may be substituted.)
1 (14.5-oz) can diced tomatoes with its juice
1/2 cup pearled barley (farro or regular barley may be substituted)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and pepper to taste
4 cups baby kale, washed and chopped (fresh baby spinach or Swiss chard may be substituted)
1 (15.5-oz) can reduced-sodium white beans, drained (such as Northern beans or Cannellini beans)
1 tsp. lemon zest
1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
Garnishes: Crumbled feta or shaved Parmesan cheese
Heat olive oil in a large pot on medium-high heat until oil begins to shimmer. Place carrots, onion, celery, and garlic in pan; cook and stir 3 minutes.
Pearled Barley (aka Shelled Wheat or Dzedzadz) is sold in Middle Eastern stores.
Stir in broth, diced tomatoes with its juice, pearled barley,
oregano, salt and pepper; bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to medium-low and cover;
simmer, stirring often, for 35-40 minutes, or until barley begins to soften. (NOTE: Farro and
regular barley might take less time to cook.)
Soup in progress
Stir in kale and white beans;
cook another 10–15 minutes or until barley and kale are tender. You will have to add
more broth as the soup cooks, as the barley will absorb quite a bit of liquid – otherwise this will become Kale and Pearled Barley Stew, which is not a bad thing!
Stir in lemon zest and juice.
To serve: Place soup in serving bowls; top with crumbled Feta or Parmesan cheese, if desired.