Monday, 17 February 2014

Student Suppers: 'Winter Cure' Kale, Barley & Root Vegetable Soup

You know how I said the other day that I was sick of soups? It turns out that I just needed the right soup to come along to make me fall head over heels with them again. I'd been eyeing a recipe for Winter Kale & Barley Soup in the 'Fuss-Free Suppers' section of the Waitrose Magazine 'Harvest' supplement of seasonal recipes ever since I got it with the January 2014 issue, to the point where I cut it out and stuck it up behind my desk. When I finally got around to trying it it was like a hug in a bowl, the perfect cure to the horrible weather outside (I'm currently on the Isle Of Man in the middle of the Irish sea visiting family. I find it cold and wet here even in the Summer), but flavour and texture wise, I still thought there were a few elements missing, elements I just did not want to simply add some smoky bacon or pancetta to, the usual flavour fix for soups like this. 
I found the perfect solution was to add copious amounts of chopped flat leaf parsley to the broth just before serving, and to substitute half of the potato ration with swede (though any root vegetables you have to use up will do here) to add a bit more bite, colour and flavour. The root vegetables and the barley also make this soup substantial enough to stand alone without any bread. You can use any type of potato, though different varieties will hold up better than others. I like to use classic baking potatoes. This soup serves 3 to 4 people.

  • 50g (1.8 oz) Pearl Barley 
  • 1.2 Litres (2 Pints) Vegetable Stock (I like to use 1 Kallo Stock Cube here)
  • 2 Leeks, sliced
  • 1 Baking Potato, cubed
  • 350g (1.5 cups) Swede (Rutabaga), cubed 
  • 100g (3.5 oz) Green Kale, shredded 
  • 1 Small Bunch Flat Leaf Parsley, chopped
  • Sea Salt
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Bring the stock and the pearl barley to the boil in a large pan (I swear by Le Creuset, I know they are pricy, but one will last you for years) and reduce the heat to simmer, covered for half an hour. Meanwhile, prepare your vegetables. Add the potato, swede or other root vegetables and leeks and cook, still covered for another 10 minutes. Add the kale and the parsley, and season to taste. Cover and cook for another 5 minutes, check the seasoning and serve. Enjoy! 

What sort of food have you really been craving this time of year? I love that this soup has flavour notes in it that somehow remind me of home and my Mothers cooking, though the recipe itself is totally new and my own, something I can bring to the family table at lunch time and make it seem like I've put so much work in, while it has really been quite simple! 


  1. Oh wow Rocio, that sounds simply delicious! I'm going to try that rice dish out when I get home next week. Already excited!

  2. Mmmm I love barley in soups. I make a similar Scotch Broth recipe, which includes butter beans - very yummy. I love the idea of using kale, and I imagine the parsley gives a lovely finish!

    I have just decided to take a leap into the world of food blogging (scary!) and I would love it if you have time to pop over and have a look ( It's just a very modest two posts at the moment, but I love cooking so much that it seemed like a fun hobby to start. I've been following your blog for about a year now and I've found it such an inspiration! x

  3. I do like the kale, I've only recently started cooking with it and it was the first time I'd put it in a soup - as you can see I was very, very pleased with the results!

    How exciting that you've started your own blog, and I'm so glad you've found this one so inspiring. I love your blog layout and you have some great photos so far - I love the idea of using fudge in brownies, something I'm going to have to try the next time I make up a batch of my brownies, a bit of interest because I don't really like nuts in my brownies. Good luck!

  4. Wow, thanks for having a look! I'm not much of a photographer, but hopefully that will improve with time.

    I also don't like nuts in brownies - I think it's something to do with the texture.

  5. I used to study photography so I am happy with my photos in general, but I really don't feel my food photography is up to scratch. Once I have all the work for my degree done and my dissertation submitted in May I'm planning on investing in The Minimalist Baker's Food Photography E-Course which is supposed to be really good ( Izzy from Top With Cinnamon recommended it to me, and I think it could help my pictures get a bit more professional!

  6. So helpful to read student recipes!! Being a student, I do often find it hard to make tasty but not bank-breaking recipes. I also love this as it could last for quite a while which I think is so important for student cooking! Thanks so much.

    i run a beauty and fashion blog at, please check it out if you have any time!

  7. This is SERIOUSLY my kind of soup! Full of all things good and good FOR me.

  8. Let me know what you think of it if you try it. And I know, right? Super healthy, even for me! Not even any oil or butter.

  9. This soup looks delicious. My daughter is a student who loves to cook so will share this with her!