For many years, I was a member of a CSA (community supported agriculture) in my area. Basically, you pay a subscription fee up front to help the farm cover the cost of seeds, etc. and in return, you get a box of fresh from the farm fruits and veggies throughout the summer and fall. Recently, I found a farm near my office (Snipes Farm in Bucks County) that does a winter CSA. And the best part is, you don’t have to subscribe to the whole season, you just let them know that you are coming, pay $30 and you get your box of winter goodies! This week, my CSA share included beets, turnips, celeriac (celery root), potatoes, kohlrabi (like a mild radish), tatsoi (an asian green), butternut squash, cabbage, end of season apples, and a half gallon of apple cider.
I happen to love beets. Those bad boys will get roasted and eaten in no time. I also puree and freeze beets and sneak it into things like pasta sauce, tacos, etc. Cider, no brainer…mulled cider (pre-mixed mulling spices from Trader Joe’s). I picked up some baby spinach at the supermarket to mix with the tatsoi for salads, easy. Butternut squash and apples became a big batch of “C”‘s favorite applesauce (recipe to come in a future post about my baby-food-making journey). Maybe I’ll take another stab at sourkrout with the cabbage. I’ve tried it before, one time successfully, one time not so much.
Ok, what to do with the rest? I happen to be a soup freak. I love it. I make it all the time. I eat it throughout the summer when everyone else is eating crisp salads and sipping lemonade. Soup is also a great way to use up things that are in your fridge, freezer and pantry. So this is what I came up with. And I have to say, it was quite good!! “C” ate a big person size bowl full of it for dinner with an “mmm” after every bite! It even got my husband’s approval. 🙂
Winter Vegetable Barley Chicken Soup
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon pureed garlic (I use jarred)
- 1/2 cup diced celeriac
- 1/2 cup diced onion
- 1 cup diced carrots
- 1 cup diced turnips
- 1 cup diced kohlrabi
- 1 cut diced potatoes
- 3/4 cup uncooked barley
- 6 cups vegetable broth
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 pre-cooked chicken breast, diced (I had previously roasted the chicken, simply seasoned with salt and herbes de provence)
- Salt to taste
In a big stock pot, on medium heat, saute the vegetables in olive oil until the begin to soften, 3-5 minutes. Stir in the pureed garlic, then add the vegetable broth, tomato paste and barley. Allow it to cook for about 5 minutes, then turn heat to low and simmer for at least 30 minutes or until all veggies are tender and the barley has puffed up. Toss in the chicken and let it heat through. Taste and then salt, if necessary (my veggie broth was low-sodium so some salt was needed).
Note: I HATE fennel seed. Which means I normally hate herbes de provence. So, I make my own mix and leave out the fennel seed. Equal parts basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, savory, and marjoram. I make a big batch and store it in the spice cabinet.