Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Soup. Roast tomatoes, onion & pearl barley

I still go through my new cook book and even I had different culinary plans for this month for the last two weeks I have been writing my shopping lists with this book in my other hand. And to be honest - I don't mind this at all!

I already showed you some salads, breakfasts and now I think there is a good time for something warm and hearty, for example a soup. With minimum ingredients, little effort but maximum flavour and satisfaction.

Hugh recommends good chicken or beef stock, I had homemade vegetable stock and I would not swap it for meaty stock, but this is my personal choice. You can also use ready made passata (fresh tomato puree) but in my opinion passata made with roasted tomatoes it absolutely the best and it is well worth making an effort of preparing it. I made mine night before as well as the stock, so next day preparing this soup took me about 30 minutes.

Swaps? Use spelt or short grain rice instead of pearl barley. However for me the barley is what makes this soup special. 

Plus one? Add some Parmesan shaving on the top just before serving. 

Dinneeeeeeeeer's reaaaady!

Serves 4

2kg ripe tomatoes, halved
5-6 tbsp olive oil 
few springs of fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
750ml vegetable stock, hot
150g pearl barley, rinsed
1 large onion, peeled and diced 
freshly ground black pepper
some extra virgin olive oil for drizzling (optionally)

Heat the oven to 180C.

Place halved tomatoes in an ovenproof dish, sprinkle with chopped garlic, add bay leaves, thyme springs and drizzle with 3 tbsp olive oil. Place in the oven and roast for about an hour. Tomatoes should be soft, little wrinkly and start to caramelise on the edges. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool down. Them place in the sieve and using a ladle press all the juices. There should be only skins and peeps left on the sieve and you should get around 500-700ml of passata. 

In a pan heat 2-3 tbsp olive oil and fry the onion for about 10 minutes, over a low heat until softened. Next add the barley and mix until covered in fat. Add hot stock, passata and simmer for about 30 minutes or until the barley is cooked. 

Divide between serving plates/bowls and before serving drizzle with some extra olive oil. Serve with a piece of good bread.

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