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