Lentil, Barley, and Potato Soup


I have learned in France to eat A LOT of soup.  Some families eat soup most winter evenings.  Having an on going supply of good quality BROTH in the freezer helps make this an even more tasty and healthy winter meal.

Once you get into the habit of soup making, you will quickly see that you don’t always need a recipe.  With a bit of inspiration from existing recipes or what you have in your fridge, you can create your own concoctions quite easily.

The “very” basic idea is to cook down some chopped onions (don’t let them brown), add garlic and/or ginger before adding your veg/meat of choice.  Cover with water or broth and cook until the veg are cooked through.  A great tip I once read is to keep the liquid ratio “tight” until cooked and then adjust if more is  needed.  I tend to just “cover” the ingredients with stock and add more before serving?  It seems that the flavors are more concentrated this way.

To blend or not to blend is up to you.  A simple stick blender is what I usually use, but for a “fancier” smooth finish, I sometimes get out the blender.

This years main inspiration comes from the wonderful book SOUP FOR SYRIA.  A collection of recipes and photographs by Barbara Abdeni Massaad.  Acclaimed chefs (including Anthony BOURDAIN, Mark BITTMAN and Yotam OTTOLENGI) and cookbook authors contribute recipes to help feed Syrian refugees.


All proceeds from the sale of this cookbook are donated to help fund food relief efforts to Syrian refugees.

I’ve tried a few recipes from the book and this one is one of this weeks favorites.  We have access to local organic lentils and are always looking for ways to cook with them.  Though it doesn’t seem like winter here at the moment, there is still no access to basil so I used home made pesto I had in the freezer to drizzle and some fresh parsley from the garden.

I used my pressure cooker for this recipe (MERCI to my mother in law for that gift), which I do often when cooking beans and pulses to reduce the cooking time.

DID YOU KNOW ?  2016 is the International Year of Pulses 🙂

Leek, Barley and Potato Soup

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped
  • 1 cup (250g) pearl barley
  • 450 g (1 lb) potatoes, cubed
  • 3/4 cup (150g) brown lentils
  • fresh basil, parsley leaves or pesto to serve
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 4 1/2 cups (1 liter) chicken or vegetable stock (at least)
  • 1 cup (250 ml) yogurt
  • pinch or paprika or Espelette pepper

Heat the oil in large pot over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook, stirring for 2-3 minutes.  Add the garlic and stir.

Rinse the barley in cold water and drain.  Add to the pot and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring.

Add the potatoes, lentils, basil leaves and salt.  Stir well to coat.

Add the stock and bring to the boil.  Reduce heat, cover the pot and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes or until the potatoes and barley are tender. You can add more water or stock if the soup becomes to thick.  (or 20 minutes in a pressure cooker)

Remove from the heat, stir in the yogurt and cook for 10 minutes on low heat.

Ladle the soup into warm bowls and garnish each with a sprinkle of paprika or other pepper flakes.

*** Adapted from the book Soup for Syria, recipe by Martyna Monaco

Bon appetit !