Monday, February 4, 2013

Taro Barley Soup

Every few months, I like to take inventory of what I've got in the pantry and freezer, and make sure I'm using up all the things I've purchased for recipes and then get shoved to the side.  Sunday was inventory day.  As of today, in addition to every spice and condiment imaginable, plus staples like sugar, salt, baking soda, and the like:

scallion flatbreads
sweet potato biscuits
4 apple sage Field Roast sausages
2 portions curried split pea soup
leftover ethiopian lentils
2 blocks tofu
chunked pineapple, cherries, mango, bananas

2 cans diced tomatoes
1 can fire roasted tomatoes
large tvp chunks
wheat spaghetti
spicy peanut butter
coconut milk
rice noodles

pepper squash
baby spinach
pomegranate arils
3 peppers
3 beets
4 carrots
1 large taro root
3 sweet potatoes
4 onions
purple kale
a grapefruit
4 kiwis

beans, peas, lentils
dried lima beans
1 cup green lentils
1/2 bag each green and brown lentils
dried romano beans

6 large tortillas

chickpea flour
vital wheat gluten
all purpose flour
whole wheat flour
corn meal
empanada flour

white rice
brown rice
pearl barley
steelcut oats

nuts and seeds
cashews (lots)
sesame seeds
almond slivers
peanuts (lots)
1-2 cups walnuts
1 cup pistachios
pumpkin seeds
sunflower seeds

4 firm blocks of tofu
pickled red onions
pickled asparagus
1/2 jar sofrito
niter kibbeh

This means it's time to get creative and work with what I've got instead of purchasing more ingredients for specific recipes.  I start off with what's going to go "off" first, and work from there.  I've had the taro root for a couple weeks, and a hankering for a big pot of soup, so I set to work.

The thing with soup is I feel like if you know the basics of cooking and flavour affinities, it's kind of impossible to screw up.  Infact, I'm pretty sure that soup started out as a way to use up whatever you've got, simmer it down and make it good.

Last time I was in Toronto, I went to my favourite Latin shop in Kensington Market to see what things I could bring home.  I like a good shortcut now and again, so I bought a jar of sofrito, which is basically just a thick sauce of tomato, olive oil, garlic, cilantro, peppers, to be used as a base for dishes like stews, soups, rice and beans.  I had a half jar left of it from making sofrito tempeh last week.  Terry Romero has a nice sofrito recipe in Viva Vegan.

This soup tastes just like my grandmother's lecso, which is a Hungarian stew that has yellow peppers, tomato, onion and paprika in it, and is served over what is called egg barley noodles (tarhonya).

With sweet potato drop biscuits from the cookbook Appetite for Reduction.

Simple Taro Barley Soup

1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium taro root, peeled and chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
1 yellow pepper, diced
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups vegetable broth
1/2 jar sofrito (Goya brand, or homemade)
1/2 cup pearl barley
salt to taste

Heat your olive oil on medium-high heat in a large soup pot.  Add the onion and carrot and sautee until the onion is pearly and translucent.  Add the garlic, taro and pepper and stir to coat everything in oil.  Add the broth and sofrito, stirring to mix everything.  Bring to a boil, and reduce to a low simmer once its reached boiling.  About 15 minutes before carrots are fork-tender, add the barley.  It's done when the barley is cooked.  Taste for salt.  The taro will be very soft in the finished soup, which is nice because it adds creaminess to the broth.
Tastes even better the next day.

1 comment:

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