I used everything apart from the cavalo nero, which I saved for the next evening's supper.
Ali's Winter Barley Broth
1 tablespoon of olive oil
a Handful of carrots (probably around 3 medium sized ones)
2 sticks of celery
Big handful of parsley
1 cup of barley, soaked overnight in plenty of water
Approximately 1.5 lt/3 pints of chicken or veggie stock (I use homemade)
Some leftover chicken (from the bird used to make the stock, I buy local free range chickens so always use every bit of them)
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Chop the onions, and start by gently softening them in the oil in a large soup pan or casserole.
2. Once the onions have started to become translucent, add the chopped carrots, celery and leeks. Give this all a good stir and cook away until the pot starts to sizzle.
3. Add your stock and barley at this stage, followed by as much chopped parsley as you fancy. Bring everything to a gentle boil.
4. At this point I pop a lid on the pot and put it in the bottom oven of my Aga for a good hour to gently simmer away. I don't season at this stage as I always wait until the barley has become soft and toothsome before I do. On a regular cooker just reduce the heat until you have a low simmer and cook for about the same time, stirring regularly.
5. The broth is cooked when the Barley has plumped up but still has a bit of bite to it. This is when I season and then add the pre-cooked left over chicken and bring it all back up to a rolling simmer for about 10 minutes before serving. We eat this with oatcakes, it will stick to your ribs as my Mum used to say!
I make many variations of this soup, sometimes with lentils, split peas too and depending on what we have in the garden, but I have to say that this version with barley in is my favourite. Just the thing for the dark and short days we have at this time of year.
Wondering if this will be my last post for 2015? Perhaps it is, but I hope to return more regularly in the New Year.
Wishing you and yours all the very best for the festive season and a happy and healthy 2016 to us all!