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.
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.