Since I have all but fallen off the face of the earth, I am sure most of you were just overwhelmed with concern over my absence in the past week. Has the library consumed her? Has the bitter cold frozen her solid? Has she starved to death? Well, with regards to the starving part, that's never a concern. If you're wondering how I managed to survive an intense exam week and a snow storm and long library days, the solution is quite simple. I like to call it soup. Red lentil and barley soup to be specific.
I love how it warms me up from the inside out, and how the volume of it makes me feel so full, but in a good way that just doesn't last too long. For a food blogger who's supposed to be trying new recipes this is dangerous territory. I may love soup, but even to me the thought of a soup-only blog sounds quite dull. Anyhow, since I knew that I wouldn't be blogging this week, I broke the rules. On Sunday I made five quarts of the same soup knowing that if would be my dinner for the next five days. Yes, I ate the same thing for dinner every night this week, and yes I loved every single bite. Sometimes it's nice to be a creature of habit.
Red Lentil Barley Soup
Note: I am no recipe writer, so consider this 'recipe' a blueprint play around with it to suit your tastes and make adjustments if you have to (I won't tell if you don't). This recipe also makes a lot (about 5 quarts) so keep that in mind and cut it down if you want to, however, it does freeze well so don't be shy about making the whole batch and then stowing some away.
2 c. red lentils
3/4 c. barley
1, 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
4 c. chicken broth
3 c. water (more as needed)
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 celery rib, sliced thin
3 large carrots sliced thin
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. cayenne (adjust depending on taste)
salt to taste
1) Heat up the olive oil over medium heat and add the onion, celery and carrots. Cook until soft.
2) Add the rest of the ingredients, bring it to a boil then turn the heat down to a simmer. Cook over medium low heat for 30-40 minutes. If it seems very thick add water, adjust this depending on how thick or brothy you like it.
3) Serve piping hot. Or cool and freeze.