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Barley Soup

Monday, February 28, 2011
Barley Soup

Happiness only real when shared.
(E. Hirsch [written in a book], Into the Wild)

According to you, is there THE recipe for happiness? Or is it overrated, such as oysters, tofu, and Julia Roberts? I mean, does anybody know the perfect formula, quantified as eggs in the sponge cake, or is it absurd to insist on looking for that ultimate goal, unattainable as the raising of a soufflé? And then, is it true that to achieve happiness we must be inflexible and stubborn, endure fatigue, arm ourselves with patience and fold the dough a thousand times almost like a croissant? Who said that Rumtopf can be enjoyed only at Christmas? What if, instead of waiting for days and hours, we took a peek into the jar as early as September, inserted a finger into the syrup, and tasted strawberries and cherries?
Maybe happiness has nothing to do with the pâté de canard en croûte that no one can replicate; perhaps it's not so difficult to make the shopping list, decipher the ingredients, and find suppliers. Maybe you can even steal a piece of happiness in a cup of blueberries with whipped cream on any given Tuesday; or in a stick of cotton candy at Sunday's roundabouts. Perhaps a piece of happiness is also a walk in the moonlight under falling snow, the smell of freshly cut grass, a run in the rain through desert streets, a smile stolen to a stranger on the bus. Or a distant memory, come back to the surface by accident.
And maybe a bit of happiness can also be found in a bowl of barley soup, exactly the same as you used to eat when you were a kid. Possible?

Barley Soup
for a hungry army of people

pearled barley 200 gr
white onion 1
garlic 2 cloves
carrots 2
celery 1 stalk
smoked pork shank
(or a prosciutto bone with some meat on it)
bay leaves 2
sage leaves 2
bouillon cube 1/2
medium size potatoes 1-2
olive oil, salt, pepper, water, milk as needed

Finely chop the onion and sauté it for a few minutes in a little olive oil, along with the peeled garlic cloves. Add carrots and celery cut into small cubes and cook for few minutes. Combine the barley and toast it, then add bouillon cube, smoked pork shank in one piece (or the prosciutto bone), bay and sage leaves, and cover with about 2.5 liters of water. Cook gently for one and a half hour, adding more water if necessary. Peel the potatoes and cut them into cubes. Add them to the soup along with a couple of glasses of milk (more or less, depending on how creamy you like it to be), and continue to simmer for another half hour. Add salt only at the end, because the pork bone is already salted. Discard the herbs and serve with a sprinkle of black pepper. If you like, you can take the meat from the shank, cut it into small pieces and add them to the soup.

PS: I also tried a vegetarian version, but it was not the same happiness.
Medifast Coupons said... [Reply to comment]

Very nice barley soup recipe. Thanks for your sharing your recipe. Look forward to trying.

Merut said... [Reply to comment]

No kidding! I recently watched Julia Roberts in Eat Love Pray. I think I might be one of the only people to hate that movie. Very overrated. I bet this barley soup would make me (and my tummy) very happy. Thanks for sharing it.

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