Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Vegetable Barley Soup

There's nothing like a steamy bowl of soup when the weather outside holds such a chill.  Just last week I was sitting in the yard soaking up some much needed sun.  This week..hello Winter!  So, I'm not ready to put away my soup pot, yet!

I haven't done much with barley in the past, but after researching its properties it could become a front runner in my kitchen.  Here's an excerpt from the Grain Council.

  • Barley, like all whole grains, reduces blood pressure.
  • Eating barley has been shown to lower LDL "bad" cholesterol and may help reduce the risk of heart disease.
  • A flood of recent research indicates that barley's ability to control blood sugar may be exceptional, offering an important tool against rising rates of diabetes.
  • Barley has more protein than corn, brown rice, millet, sorghum or rye, and is higher in fiber and lower in soluble (starch) carbohydrates than almost all other whole grains.
  • Barley may help you feel full longer, and thereby help you control your weight.
  • Barley – even pearl barley – may help reduce visceral fat and waist circumference.

Vegetable Barley Soup

1/2 cup chopped onion

2 cloves garlic, chopped

2 carrots, chopped

2 celery ribs, chopped

3 button mushrooms, chopped (optional)

1/2 cup barley

1-2 cups water

4 cups chicken broth

1 cup or more of leftover cooked chicken thighs, cut up

handful of chopped spinach

2 Tbsp parsley

salt and pepper to taste

In a soup pot saute the onions, garlic, carrots, celery and mushrooms  in a small amount (1 Tbsp) of oil, until soft.    Add the barley and stir around for about 2 minutes.  Add the water and chicken broth and bring to a boil.  Add the chicken, spinach and parsley, cover and reduce heat to a simmer.  Cook for about 40-45 minutes or until the barley is done.  Season with salt and pepper.  Serves 4-6 people.

Tidbit for the day:  Barley is February's "grain of the month"...Who knew?

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