Monday, March 2, 2009

Roasted Tomato and Barley Soup

It's beautiful inside...and out.

Several months ago I got a recipe from America's Test Kitchen. I've used it often enough now, that I feel confident it needs to be here on the blog of glory, laud and honor.

This is a delicious soup that is very flavorful, yet inexpensive to make, especially if you are auntie Em with her oooodles of home grown tomatoes! I know it is March. I'm aware that it's cold everywhere else, but perfectly warm here. Yesterday I had to turn on my air conditioning...and it wasn't because I wanted to play "freeze out". In May when we hit 120 degrees, you won't wish you where here, so I'm taking advantage of this weather now! If you don't have spectacular, tender, plump tomatoes this time of year, you can used a good canned variety. Personally I prefer ones canned in glass jars. I'm weird that way (and in so many ways too numerous to mention).
Look for barley in the same aisle you find beans and rice. I can find it in bags here, but you may only be able to find the box by Quaker. If you can't find the regular pearled barley, "quick cooking" will work. It is virtually fat free, loaded with fiber and so delicious you won't miss the meat! Great in the summer when I don't want something sticking to my ribs! Also great for a low fat diet when I don't want anything sticking to my rear. It also freezes beautifully! Barley is one of the best for freezing. I put it in little 2 cup serving containers and freeze it for a quick easy lunch.

Barley and Oven Roasted Tomato Soup
(adapted from America's Test Kitchen Healthy Cooking)
2 lb plum tomatoes, cut in half about 10 tomatoes
* (or 2- 15 oz. cans of diced tomatoes)
2T fresh basil, chopped
6 cups vegetable stock, or fat free chicken stock
1 1/2 cup tomato juice
2/3 cup barley, uncooked
2 cloves fresh pressed garlic
1 tsp Italian seasoning mix
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 rib celery, chopped
1 bay leaf.
lots of fresh cracked black pepper

* If you use canned tomatoes, skip the "broiling step", to get the roasted flavor, look for "fire roasted" canned tomatoes , or add 1 tsp liquid smoke.

1.Turn on the broiler in your oven. Arrange tomatoes in a single layer over baking sheet with deep sides, with the skin side up. Bake until skin begins to shrivel. Remove from the oven and cool slightly. Remove skins from the tomatoes. Dice tomatoes and chop the basil.
2. In a deep 4 quart heavy stock pot, combine all the ingredients, except the fresh basil. Simmer uncovered 45 minutes for regular barley, or 10 minutes for the quick barley. Remove from the heat and add the basil just before serving. Yield 10 cups.
Easy stuff right?!

Steph's Notes:
You can just throw all ingredients in the crock pot on low, or solar oven, either one for 2 hrs high, or 4-6 low (if you are cooking solar, it can be done in as little as 45 minutes or just left simmering all day, it won't ever burn in a solar oven!). Makes a great simple Sunday lunch.
Fresh herbs are added at the end of cooking because the best flavor will be achieved this way. If you add fresh herbs at the beginning, the flavor is cooked out. Dry herbs are cooked at the beginning to reconstitute them, and draw out their flavor. I love this recipe made with a chopped Fennel root as well, about 3/4 cup.

Nutrients per serving info:( 2 cup per serving), 160 calories, O fat, 0 sat fat, 0 chol, 27 carbs, 14 g protein, sodium, 540mg, Fiber 9g.
Weight Watchers: 2 points
There you go!


mlebagley said...

Question for you. Why no baking soda in this soup? I know in the past you have said to add baking soda to neutrilize the acidity of the tomatoes and I was wondering...why not in this one? Will it be gross if you don't add the baking soda? I have a pluthera of tomato sauce in my house and wanted to make this (or something similar to it) Kindly advise

Chef Tess said...

Great question. You totally can, but I have found that the barley and vegetables tend to take the edge off this one. I use baking soda to neurtilize the acid in cream of tomato soups so that it doesn't curdle the milk and give a cottage cheese soup effect. Usually the main reason for doing so.