Hearty barley soup




In my family, I've been considered the adventurous one when it comes to food. I don't consider myself particularly so, but nevertheless, I am the only one to eat things the Mediterraneans aren't too fond of, like oatmeal, kale, and barley. Then again, in my experience, it's easier to feed a picky three-year-old broccoli than convince a Mediterranean to try something new/unusual, unless it's sushi. Sushi is like, the thing that you must enjoy or you're not cool enough. But I digress.
I have discovered barley rather accidentally, and I've been hooked ever since. I usually eat some every day, cooked like rice, with a tablespoon of powder chicken stock. Today, however, I woke up very late and felt in the mood for something more hearty. I thought of cholent, which is a slow-cooking barley soup Jews make on Shabbat, and which inspired this dish. Starting with the same amount of barley I have every day, I doubled the water quantity to make a soup, to which, to give myself good conscience, I looked in the fridge for any kind of protein and  vegetables. The result was hearty barley in a flavourful broth, and a dish that was very filling, warming, and comforting (I've been under the weather, lately).


Ingredients (for 2 persons):
1 tablespoon olive oil.
4 slices of turkey breast, cubed.
1/2 cup of carrots, diced. (about 7 mini carrots)
(Optional: 1/2 cup of celery, diced)
1 cup barley (I use Pedon Italian Style 5 Grains, available at Costco, but you can use any brand you find. Just be sure it is fast-cooking, or be willing to wait.)
1 tablespoon powdered chicken broth
4 cups of water
Fresh parsley sprigs.
Two tablespoons of lemon juice (which you can skip if you don't like it.)

Heat the olive oil in a shallow pan. Sauté the turkey and the vegetables for about 3-4 minutes, then add the grains and chicken broth. Toss for a few seconds so the grains are well coated with the olive oil and broth (but don't do it too long or leave the pan unattended, as the grains can burn very fast). Add the water, bring to a boil. Cover, and cook on medium-high for ten minutes (or according to package instructions, until grains are al-dente.)
Serve in bowls, garnish with fresh parsley, add lemon juice.

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