Monday, 6 October 2014

Beans & Pearls

Zuppa di Borlotti & Orzo Perlato
Borlotti Bean & Pearl Barley Soup


Well, yes it did take a while to cook... an hour and a half to be precise... and by the time it was finally ready I was absolutely ravenous! But, dear readers... I have to tell you, that even though I was already starving when I got home, even though I was feeling cranky and a bit miserable after a tough day at the office... this made everything just fine!

Talk about comfort food! This was all that and more!

I had bought the Borlottis, beautifully colored and speckled and irresistible, at the market on Saturday- and was originally planning on making a noodle soup, "pasta fazool"... perfect Autumn or Winter food and a real favorite of mine.

But then I thought- there must be more options than just making that most obvious of dishes. And so I made this wonderful soup using yummy pearl barley. Obviously.


So, 2 good handfuls of beans, 1 handful of barley, 1 carrot, 1 stalk of celery, 7-8 cherry tomatoes, 1 Spring onion, a little basil, parsley and thyme and 1 bay leaf was all it took to make one big bowl of awesome food! Even though it took a little while to get there!


Some things in life take time... and two of them are beans and pearl barley! But given time, these two most humble of ingredients transform into something so delicious that they are really worth the wait! In fact... I can't wait to have this for supper again!


I chopped the carrot, celery and Spring onion up nice an small, cut the cherry tomatoes into slices... and made sure to finely chop the stalks of the parsley- which gives such great depth of flavor to any dish I think!


The carrot, onion, celery and parsley stalks went into my saucepan first, with 3-4 sprigs of thyme and a good splash of olive oil. I let them sizzle away until the onion turned translucent, seasoned well with salt and pepper and boiled myself up some water, ready to start turning this all into a delicious soup!


I added the beans, 3-4 celery leaves and the bay leaf, covered everything with enough boiling water to let the beans swim around a little, brought it up to the boil and then back down to a simmer- and let it gently bubble away for 30 minutes.


30 minutes later, I added the tomato slices, the barley and more water- enough to keep everything well covered. And again- I brought it up to the boil, back down to a simmer- and left it for a further 30 minutes to do it's thing... This may be a time-consuming dish... but it IS easy to make at least!


After 30 minutes, the barley had doubled in size and together with the beans, had thickened the good broth that had developed into a nice, unctuous soup. I removed the sprigs of the thyme (all of the leaves had come away and had flavored the soup deliciously), I removed the bay leaf... but I added 4-5 leaves of finely shredded basil and a nice sprinkle of finely chopped parsley, just to add some rich, fresh aroma. A final grind of pepper... a final drizzle of olive oil... and supper was served!


And the day came to a pleasant end, after all!

 There is a good side to cold weather after all folks... and a meal like this plays a large part in it! Coming in from the cold and getting something warm in your tummy is a wonderful thing- don't you think? I know that I do!

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