Fall is finally arriving – having just been in NYC where it was really getting cold, I have started craving fall foods and flavors. This lentil barley soup is comforting and a meal in a bowl. Make enough for leftovers as it reheats beautifully. The prep is not hard and the soup comes together within an hour – although if you make it a little earlier and let it sit for a bit after cooking, the flavors continue to marry.
Here are the ingredients:
- 10 ounces red lentils (I prefer red as they soften up more than the green do for this soup)
- 10 ounces barley (I used Trader Joes 10-minute barley but you can use regular barley as the soup does need to cook for a while). You can also sub another chewy grain like farro if you prefer.
- 1 cup diced onion
- 1 cup diced carrot
- 1 cup diced celery
- 4 tablespoons oil or fat (can use butter, vegetable oil, olive oil, or ghee)
- 8 cups of chicken stock or for vegetarians, a high quality veggie stock (this makes the soup) do not buy cheap stock. I make my own chicken stock which is really the best way to go: I make large quantities of stock then freeze it in quart-size freezer bags)
- 4 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1-2 teaspoons kosher salt (to taste)
- 1/2- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- Handful minced fresh cilantro
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- Add oil to soup pot, warm gently and then add mire poix: carrots, celery and onions. Sprinkle a little salt on the veggies and stir.
- Gently sweat the veggies on medium-low heat for about 10 minutes. Do not burn the veggies.
- Add cumin, salt, pepper, tomato paste to pot, and let the cumin spice warm up and tomato paste coat all the veggies and slightly caramelize.
- Add lentils and barley and stir in for a minute.
- Add stock and raise temp to bring soup to a gentle simmer. Let the soup cook on a gentle simmer for at least 45 minutes so that lentils begin to fall apart, and barley is tender.
- Adjust seasonings to taste.
- Sprinkle a little more cilantro on top.
- Optional toppings: a spoonful of garlic sauce, some dashes of hot sauce, sprinkles of high quality parmesan cheese.
- Serve with a loaf of crusty bread or a lovely fresh salad or both!