Sunday, May 24, 2009

A Vegetable and Walnut Broth

It is wet and very wild here this weekend. Not the sort of weather you want to be out in. Not unless you have something warm and filling to come back to. Like a broth made with barley and dried peas. I was brought up on Scotch broth that my mum would make in the pressure cooker with a small bit of lamb flank or neck. It was fatty, glutinous and tasted delicious on a bitterly cold day. But down here in Hawkes Bay it is somewhat warmer and although there is plenty of lamb I have made a vegetable version with a few walnuts thrown in as well for variety and because they go with the nuttyness of the barley.

You can buy a mixture of barley and dried peas - yellow and green, called (fairly obviously) “broth mixture” or do as I did and mix your own. It is best to think ahead though, because although you can cook dried peas straight from the packet they will take hours and hours to soften. So it is better to pop some in a bowl and soak them in water overnight. Next day rinse in new water, drain and then use.

- Ok so start by slowly frying a peeled and finely chopped onion in some olive oil until soft. This will take longer than you think, a good ten to fifteen minutes.
- Meanwhile peel and grate some vegetables. I like to go heavy on potatoes (a small one) and carrots (two) with some turnip (a small piece) but use whatever you have.
- Also crush up some walnuts, say three, by shelling them, putting them in a ziplock bag and whacking with a rolling pin.
- Once the onion is soft put in a cupful of the drained broth mixture along with the vegetables and walnuts.
- Pour in a pint and a half of vegetable stock and simmer at a gentle boil until the peas are soft. This could take anywhere from half an hour to an hour so just keep checking until they are as soft as you like.
- Finally check for salt and pepper and serve. Some chopped parley or coriander is nice as well if you have some.

This is the sort of soup that is even better next day and will freeze well. But if you haven’t got the time for all of that I have also made a much simpler version here.

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Lynne said...

Where do you buy your barley from please? I live in Napier and couldn't find any the last time I wanted some.

Peter said...

Hi Lynne

I got mine from New World here in Havelock - Pams Pearl Barley.

It is usually in with the dried lentils and peas etc between the tinned soups and salad dressings. As it is Pam's Countdown or Pak n Save might stock it as well. (How embarrassing that I know this ;-)

For a more organic alternative I would probably head for Chantal the whole food store. They are on Hastings street, Napier, on the same side and just along from just along from Cafe Divine . . .

Hope you find it . . .


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