Barley Soup with Caramelized Onions and Pecorino Cheese

Barley Soup with Caramelized Onions and Pecorino Cheese

A little while ago, Elle posted about her barley soup which reminded me that I had some barley sitting in the cupboard, waiting to be used. My grandparents used to make barley soup regularly. It was a bit austere, being made from (little) carrot and celery root being simmered in water and a heavy hand of barley, so that you end up with a kind of very soupy congee.

After leafing through some books I settled on this more elaborate version from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. And to make a long story short, it's a total winner. Nicely balanced flavour, and a great warming soup all around. It's a truly vegetarian dish in the sense that it certainly doesn't need any bacon and (I think) it probably wouldn't be improved by adding some.

During the preparation there was a small moment of doubt about adding the rosemary, because to me dried rosemary smells like an organic solvent. But in the end it turned out alright.

Barley Soup with Caramelized Onions and Pecorino Cheese

Source: Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison


1/4 cup olive oil
3 onions, cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 quarts vegetable stock
1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms, about 1/2 cup
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp minced rosemary or 2 tsp dried
1 cup pearl barley, rinsed
1 cup diced celery or celery root
2 carrots, diced
salt and freshly milled pepper
1/2 cup grated pecorine cheese


Warm the oil in a heavy soup pot. Add the onions, cover and cook over low heat for 40 minutes. Remove the lid, raise the temperature to medium, and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are browned. While the onions are cooking, make the stock and include the dried porcini.Retrieve them when the stock is done and chop.

Once the onions are browned, add the tomato paste and rosemary and cook for a few minutes more, working the paste into the onions. Add the barley, vegetables, chopped porcini and strained stock; bring to a boil. Lower teh heat and simmer, partially covered, until the barley and vegetables are done, about 25 minutes. Taste for salt, season with freshly milled pepper, and serve with cheese grated over the top.


MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Barley always gives me pause, I really do love it but somehow don't think of it to use very often.
Deborah Madison ... yes her recipes always turn out beautiful for me too!
Rosemary seems to mellow for me when cooked, your experience sounds like that.
Sounds like wonderful soup.

Joanne said...

I have been dying for this cookbook for such a long time! This soup looks delicious...further proof that I need to pay a visit to amazon.com.

mimicooks said...

I don't know why I never noticed this recipe, but maybe it's because the book is just so big!!

It looks great!

Joanne, you must have this book, it is excellent!!

Elle said...

This sounds easily as good as the soup I made...and easier, too. Will have to try this. Thanks Andreas!