Pickle Soup

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Soup season isn’t over yet. And neither is my indulgence in trying new recipes. I mentioned the book Love Soup in my last post.   I haven’t tried the soup titled “neeps and tatties” yet,  but the following unconventional recipe is another reason to go out and get the book. I’m telling you, this is a fun cookbook.

Pickle Soup

from Love Soup by Anna Thomas

This super-hearty soup is stuffed with goodies, enough to provide 10 full-size servings. It keeps well in the fridge for leftovers but you can also freeze some for an easy dinner after your next outing in the snow.

1/2 cup pearl barley, rinsed
1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups chopped leeks, white and light green
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
12 ounces shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced (or portobello, cremini, or other brown mushrooms)
thyme
8 ounces Yukon Gold potato, diced
1 cup chopped carrots (1 large carrot)
3/4 cup chopped celery (1 stalk celery)
1 medium turnip, peeled and diced
1/2 bunch green chard (Red chard is fine.) Remove the stems, coarsely chop leaves
1 wedge Savoy cabbage, or regular green cabbage, shredded in 1/2 inch strips
1 medium bell pepper, cored and diced
1/2 cup chopped fresh dill
1/4 cup chopped flat leaf or curly leaf parsley
3 cups vegetable broth
1 cup finely diced dill pickles (I used Woodstock Organic Kosher Dills both times.)

Put the barley and 8 cups of water in a large soup pot. Add 1 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Cover the pot, turn the heat to low and simmer for about 30 minutes.

In another pan, sauté the chopped onion in 1 tablespoon olive oil for about 10 minutes over medium low heat. Add the leeks to the onions and continue cooking for 10 more minutes. The vegetables will begin to lightly brown.

In yet another pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil with the garlic for a quick minute over medium-high heat. (Don’t burn the garlic.) Add the mushrooms, a dash of salt, and a pinch of thyme. Sizzle the mushrooms for about 10 minutes. They’ll release their liquid and turn golden around the edges.

Add the potato, carrots, celery ,turnip, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to the barley. Everything should be just under water. If not, go ahead and add another cup or two of water.  Cover the pot and simmer for another 15 minutes.

At this point, add the onion and leeks, and the mushrooms, to the soup pot. Deglaze the sauté pans with a little water to get every last bit of flavor into the soup. Next, add the chard, cabbage, bell pepper, dill, parsley, and vegetable broth. Stir. Bring to a simmer. Let cook for 10 minutes, add the pickles and heat the soup for another 10 minutes. You’ll notice the pickles become milder the longer they cook.

Taste for seasoning and add salt and/or freshly ground pepper as needed. Garnish with a sprig of fresh dill or parsley.

This is a nutritious, very filling main dish. Accompany the soup with a light, crunchy salad or slaw.  Though I eat the soup unadorned, cheese eaters may like a little feta sprinkled on top.
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