When I was a child, my Grandmother would make her version of vegetable soup. It was rich, hearty and full of gooey chunks of rich cheese. This is my version of her dish.
[ Serves: 6 – 8 | TIME: 3 HOURS | COST: $6 per pot ]
[ JOES’ RATING: 4 / 5 | MY RATING: 4 / 5 ]
1 – 2 litres vegetable stock
1 cup potato
1 cup sweet potato
1 cup pumpkin
½ cup carrot
½ cup zucchini
½ cup squash
½ cup cauliflower
½ cup broccoli
¼ cup green lentils
¼ cup yellow split peas
¼ cup pearl barley
2 tablespoons shredded parsley
1 tablespoon minced garlic
4 bite size pieces of pecorino per bowl
salt and pepper to taste
parsley to garnish
- Dice the onion. Skin the tomato and put aside. Cut all remaining vegetables into bite size pieces.
- In a large pot, heat a little oil. Add the onion and garlic and fry off until transparent and fragrant.
- Add the potato, sweet potato, pumpkin carrot, split peas, lentils, barley and stock. Reduce to a slow simmer and cook with the lid on for an hour or two. The pumpkin should dissolve to enhance the stock while the sweet potato and potato hold their form.
- Add the remaining ingredients including the tomato and simmer lightly with the lid off for a further hour or so until all vegetables are tender. The stock should thicken to the desired texture.
- To serve, add a few small chunks of pecorino cheese to the bowl and cover with hot soup. Season with salt and pepper and serve with crusty bread.
- This is a perfect dish for a slow cooker. Sauté the onions and garlic in a saucepan before adding them to the slow cooker with peas, lentils, barley and root vegetables and cook for 4 hours. Add the softer vegetables and cook for an additional two hours before serving.
- I grew up with this soup so I know the awesomeness of the cheese in the soup. I realise it sounds exceptionally strange and I would only do it with a very strong sharp cheese such as a pepper pecorino, but the cheese melts to a chewy gooey consistency that mostly holds its form. Finding a piece on your spoon is like a sudden surprise and burst of flavour – the pot of gold beneath the rainbow. I highly recommend you try it for yourself! (So what if I had six pieces of cheese in my bowl. Who’s counting, right?)
- Serve it hot for the best taste. I always make a huge stock pot full and we have it for lunches for days without anyone getting bored with it.
- Diabetic Note: This soup is the very picture of hearth, healthy winter dinners. There is such a small amount of barley and potato in the meal that it doesn’t really count towards carbohydrate exchanges. I usually have it with a slice of hot crusty bread (divine for dipping!) to make sure I have enough carbs in the meal.
- Ethical Note: Using vegetables in season means that they have not been shipped from far and wide (often overseas!). All the better for the economy and environment if you use local produce. Finally, organic lentils and legumes mean the very best in farming practices for sustainability and that one small purchase wont hurt the hip pocket because of their low price.