More soup to warm up the cold snap

It really has been quite perishing, and although we have only had a brief encounter with a severe downfall of rain, which ended not long after it begun, some parts of the rest of the country are struggling with floods. I hope the inundation has been an inconvenience and not a disaster, and homes and businesses have remained watertight.

I came across this interesting recipe which originates in the Dutch province of Gelderland; this area of the Netherlands is in the central eastern part of the country and its capital city is Arnhem, and it’s largest city is Nijmegen, which we visited with our Dutch friends a couple of years ago. My mum used to make a soup with pearl barley with left over lamb, my dad revised the recipe to make a lamb stew using the flavoursome neck – it needed a lot of skimming as it was fatty, but it was very delicious. Here is a Dutch soup using pork, not lab and with a very different character:

Pearl barley soup

  • 4 oz pearl barley soaked in 2½ pints water overnight
  • 8 oz ham hock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 oz fresh sliced ginger
  • 4 oz cubed celeriac
  • 1 small leek, very finely sliced
  • 3 very finely chopped onions
  • 4 thin slices smoked bacon, grilled until crisp (or in the oven)
  • ½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 tsp finely chopped chives
  • 1 tsp finely chopped thyme
  •  pepper
  1. add the ham hock, ginger and bay to the  barley, bring to the boil and simmer for about 35 mins
  2. remove the ham, chop into small pieces, skim off the fat from the soup if necessary
  3. add the chopped ham, vegetables and thyme and bring back to the boil, simmer for 20 mins, stirring and checking its not sticking to the bottom of the pan – add more water if necessary and stir
  4. check seasoning, add nutmeg and pepper and serve
  5. garnish with chopped chives and a slice of crispy bacon

I love the idea of the ginger and nutmeg (a very favourite spice) how warming and delicious for winter – would a swirl of sour cream spoil it? Has to be served with warm crusty bread!!



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