Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Souper Supper

I often try to make a big pot o’ something that can be eaten over two meals just because I like the idea of cook once, eat twice and sometimes it can be a way of saving money. One of my new star cheap but healthy ingredients is pearl barley. I can buy a 500g bag of pearl barley for 55p and it expands as it cooks so you don’t need much to make a satisfying, wholesome, thick and filling soup. Make sure you buy PEARL barley and not POT barley--if you want supper on the table in a reasonable amount of time. Pearl barley cooks quicker. The bag says “simmer 45 minutes to 1 hour or until barley is tender” and I find it is ready to go in this soup in 30-35 minutes. Perfect!

This soup also uses cheap-ass button mushrooms. I know there are fancier ones out there, but even plain ole white button mushrooms are full of copper, riboflavin, niacin and selenium. I can buy 350g of white button mushrooms for 89p and use them for 2-3 meals.

Mushroom Barley Soup

1 onion, chopped

2-3 cloves garlic, crushed

2 carrots, diced small

3 cups sliced button mushrooms (about 10 mushrooms)

7 cups vegetable broth, divided (save back one cup of broth for the end)

½ cup puy lentils, picked over and rinsed

½ cup pearl barley

1 TB tomato puree

1.5 tsp dried thyme

1 tsp dried dill

1 TB tamari or soy sauce

2 TB lemon juice

Salt and pepper

Optional: 50g de-stemmed kale, torn into bits if you happen to have some lying about like we often do (not in picture)

Slurry: ¼ cup flour mixed with ½ cup cold water (chickpea flour works great here)


1. Cook the onion and carrots and garlic in a splash of oil until softened. Stir in dried herbs.

2. Add six cups broth, mushrooms, barley, lentils, tomato puree. Bring to the boil then reduce heat and simmer covered for around 30 minutes or until lentils and barley are tender.

3. Add the tamari (or soy sauce) and the lemon juice to the remaining cup of stock. When tender, add in remaining liquid.

4. Optional: if you have some kale lying about that needs to be used up, throw it in and cook until it wilts a bit (about 5 minutes)

5. Add the slurry and increase the heat until the broth thickens.


That’s it. This soup is hardy, stick to your ribs, but also using cheap ingredients like onion, carrot, mushrooms and barley. I have fallen back in love with carrots since we moved to Wales as they are a cheap ingredient (I can buy 1kg of carrots for around 55p) and they easily and healthfully bulk out soups and stews.


We have a big ole pot o’ something every Sunday and Monday night, because Monday night we have Welsh class. We just reheat, eat and then toddle on over to the university up the hill and spend three hours learning Welsh. It is a blast because we have the most amazing teacher who is so encouraging and fun. Martin makes us laugh and we learn lots of grammar and vocabulary but also with digressions of jokes and songs. Which to be fair, requires you to know grammar and vocabulary! 


Stay tuned for a crash course in the Welsh language! But first, go make this soup!

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