Thursday, 2 December 2010

SNOW!! And Winter Soup

Today the Transports Scolaire were unable to safely take to the roads here in Côtes d'Armor, so, a day off school for both girls. Plus tomorrow is the same. We have had just about constant snowfall now for days. The snow ranges from very tiny icy particles to big feathery flakes. I reminds me of a Currier & Ives Christmas Card.

Both girls insist upon going out in it, carrying black plastic rubbish bags so they can slide down the snowy slopes. Then come in with very cold bums and huddle under feather duvets on the couch, sipping hot cocoa (the kind you make on the stove.)

It's fun to be a kid.


I'm making soup every other day since it's a great winter warmer and the girls love it. Add in inexpensive and it's a winner!

Winter soup

200g smoked lardons of bacon
2 onions, peeled and chopped
2-4 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
2 Tbl Olive oil
3 Tbl Barley
1 kg bag frozen soup vegetables (leek, swede, carrot, cauliflower, etc.)
4-6 medium potatoes, scrubbed well and chunked into bite-size pieces
Vegetable or Chicken stock (homemade or use stock cubes and hot water)

Sauté the bacon and the onion in the olive oil until the onion is soft but not browned. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant and soft. Add in the barley, soup veg and potatoes and cover with the stock. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
That's the basic recipe. 
To make it a bit different: instead of the potatoes, I add in a handful of pasta at the end or a cup of brown rice (but then I allow 45 minutes simmering to cook the brown rice.)
I add in a couple handfuls of finely sliced kale.
I add in a tin of chopped tomatoes, a tin of white beans and several tablespoons of pesto to make a kind of Minestrone.
Sometimes I'll add in leftover chopped ham or sliced chipolatas or blobs of ground turkey or a couple broken-up steak hachée instead of the lardons.
It's a very versatile base recipe.

Try it soon, just the thing for a winter warmer.


English Rider said...

Pretty pictures and a good reminder about barley. Very under appreciated.

auntiegwen said...

Ooh how pretty it looks there. I will def have a go at the soup, minus the meaty things :)

Kitty said...

English Rider: I never used barley when I lived in the USA, just never thought to try it, I guess. But then I bought The Ballymaloe Cooking School Cookbook by Darina Allen when browsing through a used book store in the UK, found the Irish Stew recipe, made it several times and fell in love with that grain. I also make the Irish Soda Bread quite often from that same cookbook, it goes great with soup!

auntiegwen: I should have mentioned that when I make soup for 'Meatless Mondays' and 'Vegetarian Vendredi' (we eat vegetarian twice a week, every week,) I leave out the lardons completely. Then I'll do some medium grain couscous sautéed in butter with finely chopped onions until the onions are browned, then finished with vegetable stock. The girls heap a load of that into their soup, it's a great way to further bulk out a soup meal.

the fly in the web said...

I was chuffed to find I could buy barley here...barley in beef stock with decent mince...the meat is good too...carrots onions and bay leaf.
Dead simple, but if the ingredients are good it makes a lovely lunch with dry toast on the side.

Kitty said...

the fly in the web: Now that sounds good, Beef Barley soup. Which leads me to think of Caldo de Res, or Mexican Beef Soup. There was this fabulous family Mexican restaurant in the desert where I grew up, in Indio, where I went to High School. That's the first place I ever had it and, even 35+ years later, I can still conjure up the taste in my mind.
Simple and good ingredients, treated carefully, is all you need!
(Now I want Caldo....)

Paul and Roz said...

lovely photographs. What I love about winter is being in the warm, looking across the valley on those few occasions we see snow and winter warming foods.

Kitty said...

Paul and Roz: Being somewhere warm, and looking out on a snowy, wintry scene while enjoying something delicious and warming has got to be my main love about winter! Friends visiting, gathering around the fire and sharing food, wine, laughter and conversation, it's one of my greatest joys.

I may mutter about the snow and cold, but, if I was to return to a place like San Diego that is temperate all year, I'd sorely miss it. I think frigid Winter just makes me appreciate the glorious warmth of Spring and Summer so much and long for it's return... but then being deprived of something you have, even for a short amount of time, does that.
Hmmm... I think that applies to many things in life.

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