soups & recipes: a modern twist on an old world soup recipe…

soup recipes

It was uncommon for ancient people to have meat with every meal. Only the wealthy could afford such a luxury. Most meals consisted of some type of grain and/or bean. Florus, a Roman historian, gave a dinner at which he asked his guests what are meant by “salt and bean friends” as mentioned in a Greek proverb. The scholar Apollophanes answered, “The proverb refers to friends who are so close to us as to be content to dine with us on salt and a bean.”

soup recipes

We think any friend would love the following soup, which is not at all plain. Vegetable and bean barley soup is a flavorful, hearty soup that will warm you on a chilly fall day. Eat the soup with good multigrain bread that can stand up to being dipped into the hot soup. The multigrain bread is a perfect complement to the rustic soup.

soup recipes

It is our wish that you will have many “salt and bean friends” with whom you can share your meals. The recipe(s) come from a cookbook called “The philosopher’s Kitchen

soup recipes

The Ancient Recipe:

Barley Soup with Dried Vegetables
Soak chickpeas, lentils and peas. Crush barley and boil with the dried vegetables. When it has boiled enough, add sufficient oil and chop the following greens: leeks, coriander, dill, fennel, beet, mallow and tender cabbage. Put all these finely chopped greens into the saucepan. Boil cabbage. Pound a generous quantity of fennel seed, marjoram, silphium, and lovage and after pounding blend with the liquamen. Pour over the dried vegetables and stir. Put chopped cabbage leaves on top.

-On Cookery, Apicius

Modern Recipe for Vegetable and Bean Barley Soup

Ingredients
1 large onion, diced
¼ cup olive oil
2 leeks, white parts, thinly sliced
1 fennel bulb, diced
2 celery ribs with leaves, diced
1 cup diced red cabbage
1 quart chicken or vegetable stock
¼ cup barley
¾ cup cooked chickpeas
¼ cup split peas
¼ cup lentils
1 tsp dried marjoram
1tsp dried fennel seed
1 tsp ground coriander
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup fresh dill, minced

Directions
Sauté the onion in the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat until softened. Add the leeks, diced fennel, celery and cabbage. Sauté for about 10 minutes
Raise the heat to high. Add the stock, barley and 3 cups of water. Bring to a low boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the chickpeas, split peas, lentils, marjoram, fennel seeds, coriander, salt and pepper.
Simmer over medium heat until the beans and grains are tender.
Remove from heat. Stir in the fresh dill and serve.

A few notes:
Certain family members do not like dill and a few other seasonings. When making this for them finely diced pancetta is added to give the soup a hearty flavor. When adding pancetta us vegetable broth instead of chicken.
This meal can be made in a Crockpot. Be sure to sauté the vegetables before adding to the Crockpot.

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13 comments

  • October 17, 2011 at 10:58 am //

    Looks so delicious and comforting!!! I love barley soups, they remind me of soups my Nan used to make when I was a little girl.

    • October 17, 2011 at 5:00 pm //

      That’s wonderful Jennifer!

  • October 17, 2011 at 11:30 am //

    Wow – this soup is SO beautiful! I love barley, split peas, lentils…all of it!

    • October 17, 2011 at 5:00 pm //

      Thank you Ann!

  • October 18, 2011 at 12:28 am //

    Wow – lots of good ingredients in your soup!

  • October 18, 2011 at 6:18 am //

    The soup looks great, but I’m also craving that bread!

  • October 18, 2011 at 10:17 am //

    I still have NOT yet made barley, yours looks so delicious, and cozy! Thanks for sharing :)

  • October 18, 2011 at 11:23 am //

    Looks like the perfect soup to eat with a piece of bread instead of a spoon.

  • October 18, 2011 at 11:52 am //

    Thank you all so much for your wonderful comments!

  • October 18, 2011 at 2:39 pm //

    What a nice barley soup! I have to admit, most of the soup I make is… miso soup and that’s how I grew up, so I’m very not good at experimenting soup to be honest with you…. I can have two bowls of the soup in first picture and call it a great dinner!