Some of my favorite recipes combine a certain flavor desire with odds and ends food bits that are lurking in the fridge or the cupboard. Our society tells us that only “new,” “improved,” “shiny,” and “fresh” are worth anything. Our taste buds tell us that if we waste not, we want not for something incredibly delicious.
Naturally, this recipe can be made with the very freshest ingredients (and probably should). But I always end up making it when I need to clean out the produce and grain drawers. And it is GOOD (and cheap, vegetarian, non time-consuming, and easy)!
Thanks to my Aunt Heather for giving us our first taste of Farmhouse Soup when we were newlyweds! She’d made a Christmas gift out of it, packing the dry ingredients into jars in delightful-looking layers. We’ve been hooked ever since. She is a fabulous cook.
(A flexible list – for example, I used carrots instead of tomatoes because it’s winter.)
-butter or oil
-several stalks chopped celery, 1 chopped onion, chopped tomatoes, 4-5 diced potatoes
-two 8-10 oz. cans of corn (I only used one)
-up to 1 C. each of barley and lentils
-pasta: your choice! (honeycomb, pipette, elbows, ditalini, etc – tiny stuff)
-chicken stock/broth (48 oz. can + water + bullion -OR- use homemade)
-favorite spices: celery salt, garlic powder, basil, oregano, salt, pepper…
Begin by slicing and dicing all the veggies. Saute the onion and celery in oil or butter. I used oil to be heart healthy, but butter will give it a nice flavor.
When the onion and celery are tender, add tomatoes and/or carrots, potatoes, corn, and chicken broth/stock. Stir. Add your favorite spices. Begin bringing this mix to a boil. Measure in barley and lentils.
When the soup reaches a full boil, reduce the temperature. Simmer until the potatoes and carrots are almost completely tender and the barley is beginning to split.
During this simmering process, you can do what I did and make fresh bread…
…which will add to the enchanting aroma in your home…
…or you can slice up some bread that’s starting to get stale for killer Garlic Toast.
Or make Baking Powder Biscuits! Or Skillet Yankee Cornbread! Or you can take a nap! I envy you if yours is the last option.
Last step: When the potatoes and carrots are tender, add your pasta of choice. It will soak up lots of liquid, so be prepared. If you want a thin soup but don’t have any extra broth to lose, you can skip the pasta entirely.
Remove the soup from the heat when the pasta is either tender or al dente – you choose. Yummy! The beauty of this soup, besides its warm, filling yumminess, is the flexibility you have to make it very dense and stew-like or thin (think: visitors just showed up and you’d like to offer them dinner, but tonight is soup night – you’re covered!).
Grab a spoon! Hope you enjoy this recipe thoroughly, and experiment to your heart’s content.
For a picture-free, easy-to-print version of this recipe, please click on this link: https://thefullvine.wordpress.com/main-dishes/farmhouse-soup/.