Thursday, June 16, 2011

Super Soup

An empty fridge is the mother of all invention. The other day I was circling my kitchen, as I tend to do when I don't have an immediate task, trying to figure out what to make for dinner. It was a Saturday and I was bitter that a. I had to cook and b. the fridge was pretty close to empty.

I eventually stopped pacing and decided to take another look to see what was laying around. Here is what I found: cabbage and barley and stock. To the soup pot!

Cabbage and barley have been hailed as superfoods. A term that I believe to be overused, but nonetheless flattering for my two main ingredients. Cabbage is pretty much a cancer reverser, filled with antioxidants and a good helping of Folate and Vitamins C. Barley, among its other accolades, is a fiber powerhouse. Not only is that good for our digestive health, but also for our heart health, or haven't you been watching the Quaker Oats ads?

I must confess that cabbage and barley are not the only two things that went into the soup so I feel this is a good opportunity to get preachy and say that one should always have onions, garlic, celery and carrots around. This is the basis for an innumerable amount of soups and other dishes. Plus, they are quite healthy in their own right.

One last thing, Toddler really liked this, I just put some in the Magic Bullet so cut up some of the bigger pieces.

Cabbage and Barley Soup with Fennel

Serves 4(ish) as a main dish

2 tblsp olive oil*
1 cup onion, chopped
1 cup carrots, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup barley (most common is pearl, but any will do)
6 cups reduced sodium chicken broth**
1.5 tsp fennel seeds
2 cups (Half a head) cabbage, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp parsley chopped

In a medium to large pot heat olive oil. Add onions, carrots, and celery. Cook until vegetables soften. Add garlic and cook just until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add barley and stir to coat with oil. Add broth and fennel seeds. Simmer uncovered for about 40 min or until barley is cooked through. Add cabbage and continue cooking for 4 minutes (if cooked much longer cabbage will start losing a lot of its nutrients). Salt, pepper and parsley to taste.

Sorry I don't have a picture, we ate it all.

*Carnivore note: instead of using olive oil chop up some bacon cook it and use the fat renderings to cook the veggies, then proceed with the recipe.
**Vegetarian note: Go for it. Substitute chicken for vegetable stock.

Enjoy! Let me know how it goes.

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