Sunday, January 25, 2015

Leek and Potato Soup with Beans and Barley: A Hearty Soup Mash-Up for Souper (Soup, Salad and Sammie) Sundays

My Libra tendencies often present themselves in my difficulty in making certain decisions--especially when there is more than one good choice. It's not that I can't make a decision, it's just that sometimes I simply don't want to choose. This week I couldn't decide whether I wanted a bean and barley soup, or if leek and potato soup was what I craved. So I decided to put them together and thus this Leek and Potato Soup with Beans and Barley was born. Sometimes it's good to not choose...

A soup mash-up, Rachael Ray would call it a 'stroup' but I would just say it's a very hearty thick soup that eats like a stew, or with all of the beans, maybe a bit like a veg-friendly cassoulet. It's not at all fancy soup, but studded with rosemary and thyme--two of my favorite herbs for both beans and potatoes, it is full of good flavor and makes a satisfying supper on a rainy evening.  

Leek and Potato Soup with Beans and Barley
By Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(Serves 8-10)

2 Tbsp olive oil
2-3 large leeks, white and light green parts, rinsed well, quartered and sliced
1 large carrot, large dice
2 celery stalks, large dice
3 gloves garlic, minced
4 sprigs of thyme
2 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 bay leaf
3 cups mixed beans, soaked overnight, rinsed and drained
6 cups low-sodium vegetable broth, + 4 cups water (+ more if needed/desired)
3-4 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into small cubes
1 1/4 cups quick cooking pearl barley
salt and pepper to taste

In a large soup pot, heat the oil over medium heat. When hot, add the leeks, carrots and celery and saute for 5-6 minutes until vegetables soften and leeks start to turn golden. Add garlic, thyme sprigs and rosemary and cook for another couple of minutes. 

Add bay leaf, beans, broth and water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a good simmer and cook 1-1 1/2 hours--until beans are cooked to your liking, stirring occasionally along the way and checking the progress of the beans. Stir in potatoes and quick-cooking barley (see barley note below) and cook another 20 minutes until potatoes are soft and barley is cooked. Remove bay leaves and thyme stems.

Season with salt and black pepper and add additional broth or water if you want a thinner soup. If you aren't eliminating dairy or care if it is vegan, a grating of good Parmesan is nice to serve. Enjoy with a green salad and good bread.

(Barley notes: My mom always cooks her barley separately and adds it to her barley soups. I am lazy and like a thicker, stew-like soup so I don't bother--especially when I use quick coking pearl barley. For hulled or whole-wheat barley that takes longer to cook and absorbs more liquid, I would cook it separately and add the cooked barley to the soup at the end.)  

Notes/Results: Hearty and so good--thick and almost creamy. It has all the flavor of a potato-leek soup and all the wonderful texture of bean and barley. Mixed beans are fun--you get so many different types of 'bites' with the various sizes and types. Mine was a simple grocery store 15-bean variety with a (very scary in my mind) 'ham flavoring' packet that immediately went in the trash. ;-) I was pretty happy with this soup as it is but you could of course work in some leafy greens or if you prefer meat in your soup, some slices of organic chicken sausages would be nice. Using this recipe it clocks in at a healthy 270 calories per bowl with 12.6 grams of protein, 21.8 grams of fiber, and 31 grams of iron so not too shabby. I would definitely make it again. 

Janet of The Taste Space is here with me today in the Souper Sundays kitchen with a recovery-worthy Japanese Tomato Miso Soup. She says, "Sick in bed, possibly from influenza, or whatever virus/bacteria/etc has me bedridden, with itchy eyes that I don’t even want to open and pretty darn sleepy from the sleepless nights and possibly the nyquil side effects. ... Rob was great trying to keep me full of tea and soup (making my favourite Lemon Ginger Miso Soup with some added parsnips which he associates with healing soups) and eventually the flu subsided. But guys, it was a doozy. Tis a shame the vaccine didn’t work this year. I get the vaccine every year but it reminded exactly what I was trying to avoid each and every year."

Thanks to Janet for joining in this week. If you have a soup, salad, or sandwich that you would like to share, just click on the Souper Sundays logo on the sidebar for all of the details.

Have a happy, healthy week! 



  1. When in doubt - make both! i like the way you think.

  2. Oh yeah, putting them both together works well! Here's to hoping more people join next week :)

  3. Thanks Janet for joining in. Some weeks definitely have more action than others. ;-)

  4. Thanks Joanne! ;-)


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