We have some lovely dried herbs, which are flaked, here in Spain. Out of season, they are added to many home made soups and stews. While I have shown vegetable stock for this recipe, I generally use chicken stock with the addition of a Knorr vegetable stock pot.
2 tbsp olive oil
1 sweet Spanish onion – peeled and diced
1 celery heart including leaves if fresh – trimmed, cleaned and finely chopped
2 medium sized carrots – trimmed, peeled and diced
1/2 tsp dried basil flakes
1/2 tsp dried oregano flakes
1/2 tsp dry thyme flakes
2 large bay leaves
1/4 cup sweet potatoes (prepared measure), peeled, diced
1/4 pump pumpkin or Butternut squash (prepared measure), peeled and diced, after removing seeds)
1/4 cup frozen peas (optional)
1/4 cup frozen sweetcorn (optional)
8 cups vegetable stock (preferably home made) or water and Knorr stock pots
3/4 cup pearl barley – rinse under cold running water, leave to drain
3/4 cup cooked pinto or white beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup (prepared measure) fresh ripe Italian plum tomatoes – peeled, seeded and puréed
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
- Warm the olive oil in a large heavy based saucepan or soup pot – when hot add the onions, celery (including leaves) and carrots, fry gently for about 4 to 5 minutes.
- Stir in the herbs.
- Stir in the sweet potatoes, pumpkin, frozen peas, frozen sweetcorn before adding the stock (or water and stock pots) then bring to the boil.
- Add the pearly barley, beans and tomatoes along with the seasoning, stir and return to the boil.
- Reduce heat to achieve a simmer, cook for an hour then check to see if the pearl barley is soft – it should be ‘fluffy’.
- Taste and adjust seasoning, at this point I usually add a sprinkle of two of sweet Spanish paprika – stir to blend and cook for a couple of minutes more then serve with fresh crusty wholegrain bread.