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Saturday, January 7, 2017

Kale and Pearl Barley Soup

Winter came and went in one day in South Florida. It happened on Friday, December 30, 2016, when the temperature barely climbed into the mid - 60’s during the day and dipped into the low 50’s at night
I hear what you’re saying …”She calls THAT winter?!?” Well, that’s how  our winters are. Believe me, I’ve shoveled enough snow during my years in New Jersey, so I delight in the south’s version of this season!

This ‘cold spell’ prompted me to bring out the big pot and make some stick-to-your-ribs soup. I prepared Kale and Pearl Barley Soup to satisfy our tummies and our souls.
Kale and Pearled Barley Soup topped with Crumbled Feta Cheese

Kale and Pearl Barley Soup
Serves 6

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 medium carrots, coarsely chopped
1 medium yellow onion, coarsely chopped
2 ribs celery, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
4-6 cups (or more!) chicken broth (Vegetable broth may be substituted.)
1 (14.5-oz) can diced tomatoes with its juice
1/2 cup pearled barley (farro or regular barley may be substituted)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and pepper to taste
4 cups baby kale, washed and chopped (fresh baby spinach or Swiss chard may be substituted)
1 (15.5-oz) can reduced-sodium white beans, drained (such as Northern beans or Cannellini beans)
1 tsp. lemon zest
1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

Garnishes: Crumbled feta or shaved Parmesan cheese

Directions:

Heat olive oil in a large pot on medium-high heat until oil begins to shimmer. Place carrots, onion, celery, and garlic in pan; cook and stir 3 minutes.
Pearled Barley (aka Shelled Wheat or Dzedzadz) is sold in Middle Eastern stores. 
Stir in broth, diced tomatoes with its juice, pearled barley, oregano, salt and pepper; bring to a boil. 

Reduce heat to medium-low and cover; simmer, stirring often, for 35-40 minutes, or until barley begins to soften. (NOTE: Farro and regular barley might take less time to cook.)
Soup in progress
Stir in kale and white beans; cook  another 10–15 minutes or until barley and kale are tender. 
You will have to add more broth as the soup cooks, as the barley will absorb quite a bit of liquid - otherwise this will become Kale and Pearled Barley Stew, which is not a bad thing!
Lemon Zest
Stir in lemon zest and juice.

To serve: Place soup in serving bowls; top with crumbled Feta or Parmesan cheese, if desired. 

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