To me, the best thing about this soup was the spice mixture. I forget about some of the Indian spice combinations, so it was really fun to break out the garam masala for this. It smelled heavenly, and it’s a wonderful combination of sweet and warm spices. Along with the fresh ginger, it added wonderful flavor.
I suppose really, though, I should start at the beginning. This is (particularly if you already have the spices) a dead-easy recipe with ingredients many people have on hand. Many of Dorie’s soups rely on onions, garlic and carrots, and sometimes go a step further to something like a parsnip.I substituted a sweet potato, since the parsnips looked like they were picked last year – sad, shriveled things, that probably would have been delighted to find a home in my soup, but well, they didn’t.
I decided to add some lentils as well, for a little substance, and mainly because they’re good-for-you. They seemed in keeping with the theme.
Since there was no picture of this dish, I’m sure lots of different choices were made for how to “chop” the ingredients. Often in vegetable dishes, I’ll chop things so that they’re a similar size, often driven by the shape and size of some other ingredient. Here I chose a nice small dice for everything – easily accomplished with the onion, carrot and sweet potato – I thought they would look nice with the plumped up barley and lentils. The vegetables get coated with a tiny bit of oil, and then get started cooking until almost tender. The spices get added next, to allow their aromas and flavors to develop.
Once that’s accomplished, broth, barley, and in my case lentils are added, then allowed to simmer until the barley is puffed up, the lentils are soft and the soup comes together.
I decided to serve my soup with some bacon, cheddar and chive scones. As it turned out, I didn’t actually have bacon on hand, but one trick I learned earlier was to substitute chilled bacon grease for butter or shortening in biscuits (it’s off the hook!), so I did that instead, since I thought that the smokey flavor would go well with the soup.
I served the soup with a nice sauvignon blanc, with the aforementioned scones. Really a nice, simply, but interesting meal.
If I were making this again, I think I’d go farther afield with the vegetables. I considered eggplant, or even green beans. Perhaps some greens thrown in at the end. I don’t know that this is something that I’d want all of the time, since it isn’t a flavor combo I’d naturally tend towards (I’d rather have Thai curry any day over Indian). But this was good, and filling, and tasty.
If you’d like to check out the recipe, or learn about cooking groups like ours, this is a terrific article. As well, you can find out how the other Doristas liked this recipe (and others) by checking out their posts here.