Tuesday, March 25, 2008

root vegetable, barley and meatball soup

It's been a while, to say the least.  I could bore you with why I had nothing worth writing about, but that defeats the purpose of keeping quiet and not bothering anybody. Let's just blame it on winter-blah. I could easily hibernate from X-mas till spring. But . . . we've had a few nice days here and there and I've slowly been getting my butt out in the yard. Weeding, tilling; getting the garden ready for planting and otherwise getting my blood to flow - burning way more calories than a hibernating sloth should. 
What to do when you come home ravenous, looking for food and YOU are the cook?  This is when it's good to plan ahead. I think I've finally learned my lesson after many years of not planning and succumbing to that "low-blood-sugar-grazing" of whatever happens to be in sight. Much better to come home to a giant cauldron of soup steaming and bubbling away on the stove. You start your concoction before you head out. Just toss the ingredients in a pot of water, get it to boil, turn to simmer, cover with lid, let it do it's magic and out the door you go! You come home, you strain the brew, add some fresh ingredients, heat a few rolls and sit down. Time to replenish! That easy! Before you know it you're belly up on the couch resting that sore back.
I've been making this soup for a few years now and still love it. The picture is from 2 years ago when I had to try out a set of dishes I was making as my nieces wedding present.

root vegetable, barley and meatball soup

The Stock

2 giant marrow bones
1 onion
1 garlic clove
2 tomatoes
1 rutabaga
1 parsnip
4 celery stalks
4 carrots
5 bay leaves
pinch whole mace
1 tsp. peppercorns

Toss in a 12 qt. stock pot. Bring to a boil, cover with lid, turn to simmer for 2 hours or more.

The Meatballs

1 lb ground pork
1 lb ground lamb
1 egg
pepper, salt, cloves, cayenne to taste
pinch ground thyme

Shape into 11/2" balls.

The Finish

11/2 cup barley
2 large carrots, sliced
1 small head savoy cabbage, shredded
generous amount of shredded basil

Strain the broth. Reserve the root vegetable and cut into cubes. Scrape the marrow into the soup. Add salt to taste. Add the barley and cook for 1 hr or until done. Add the carrot slices, cabbage and reserved root vegetables. Simmer for 5 min.

Serve in bowls topped with shredded basil with a side of heated buttered rolls.

Perfect soup after a hard day's work outside. Rich in flavor, filling but lightened by the crunchy bite of fresh vegetables and herbs.