I wanted something easy but comforting for lunch today, and soup is such a great go to for when you're feeling a bit rushed. I made a broth with pearl barley, kidney beans and a load of veg. I've done a variation on this many times, and while I was a student it was such a great go to meal at the end of the day. It's enough preparation (an hour from start to finish) to be therapeutic, but not stressful either. It is inspired by Hugh Fernley-Whittingstall's River Cottage Veg Every Day recipe for 'Raid the larder spelt broth':
Pearl Barley and Veg Broth (for 1 sick but hungry person)
25g pearl barley (dry weight) - rinse well
1 Dry bay leaf
1 tsp (scant) of vegetable bouillon/stock powder
Half a can of kidney beans - drained (which beans you have to hand. If you have dried beans, this equates to about 50g dry weight, and be sure to cook according to instructions before adding)
Half an onion - finely chopped
1 Medium carrot - finely chopped
Small handful of dried mushrooms (I used portobello, and shiitakes have worked for me well before) - Soak in enough water to cover for 15 mins, chop and reserve liquid)
50g (Large handful) Kale
50g Frozen peas
- Boil pearl barley in enough water to cover by at least an inch, depending on how much liquid you want your broth to have, adding in the garlic, bay leaf and bouillon.
- After half an hour (I use this time to prep the other ingredients) add onions and carrots. Keep the water boiling, and be sure to add more if it looks dry - the barley soaks it up!
- Five minutes later, add the chopped mushrooms and the soaking liquid.
- After another five minutes, add whichever beans you are using.
- Another 15 minutes later add in the peas and kale for a final 5 or 10 minutes of cooking, depending on how well-cooked you like your greens.
- Season with salt and pepper, if your taste prefers (though a decent bouillon should provide enough flavour enhancement).
- Don't forget to remove the bay leaf before serving in a big bowl :-)
I am submitting this to the Wellness Weekend event, which is a great weekly resource worth checking out if you're looking for clean-eating, refined sugar-free inspiration!
Let me know if you try this out!