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TURKISH-STYLE BARLEY SOUP

If you’re looking for something delightfully different but delicious, look no further. This simple soup is an exquisite combination of textures and flavors. Serve it as a light main course or in small quantities as a prelude to dinner.
Serves 8


Equipment:
Medium to large (3½ to 5 quart) slow cooker

Ingredients

· 1 tablespoon (15 mL) olive oil
· 1 onion, finely chopped
· 3 leeks, white part with just a bit of green, cleaned and thinly sliced
· 4 cloves garlic
· 1 teaspoon (5 mL) salt
· 1/2 teaspoon (2 mL) cracked black peppercorns
· 1 piece (2 inches/5 cm) cinnamon stick
· 2 tablespoons (25 mL) all-purpose flour
· 1/2 cup (125 mL) barley (see Tips below)
· 6 cups (1.5 L) vegetable broth, divided
· 2 teaspoons (10 mL) sweet paprika, dissolved in 2 tablespoons (25 mL) freshly squeezed lemon juice
· 2 long green or red chiles, minced
· 3/4 cup (175 mL) full-fat yogurt or vegan alternative
· 2 tablespoons (25 mL) finely chopped fresh mint


Directions

In a skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and leeks and cook, stirring, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add garlic, salt, peppercorns, cinnamon stick and flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add barley and toss to coat. Add 2 cups (500 mL) of the broth and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes. Transfer to slow cooker stoneware.

Stir in remaining 4 cups (1 L) of broth. Cover and cook on Low for 6 to 8 hours or on High for 3 to 4 hours, until barley is tender. Discard cinnamon stick.

Add paprika solution to slow cooker along with chile peppers, yogurt and mint. Cover and cook on Low for 15 minutes to meld flavors.

Tips:
After adding the yogurt, cooking on Low ensures that the soup doesn’t boil, in which case the yogurt would curdle. Use the type of barley you prefer — pearled, pot or whole. Whole (also known as hulled) barley is the most nutritious form of the grain. Barley, like all whole grains, really soaks up liquid. If you’ve refrigerated this soup and are reheating it, you’ll need to add water to ensure an appropriate consistency.

If you are halving this recipe, be sure to use a small (approx. 2 quart) slow cooker.

Make Ahead:
Complete Step 1. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. When you’re ready to cook, complete the recipe. Because the barley soaks up liquid on sitting, add an extra 1/2 cup (125 mL) of broth or water before cooking.
 

Recipe from The Vegetarian Slow Cooker: Over 200 Delicious Recipes by Judith Finlayson  (Robert Rose; February 2010 Softcover/$24.95)
 

 

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