Friday, September 10, 2010

Chickpea Tomato Barley Soup

Today I had my first day of classes! Well, more like class because I had just one, Abstract Algebra. I like my schedule this term because I have just one or two classes a day and I'm always done by noon. It's so weird to be back on campus as a senior. I walk around expecting to see seniors that graduated last year. There are a few familiar faces, but a majority of them are very new and it's like a new campus. Actually, there have been a lot of changes since I was last here so it actually is a new campus to me in many ways. I also have a car this year, so I can drive myself around instead of having to match all of my housemates' schedules.

I've been back in town since Monday. I was proud of myself that I was able to drive for almost half the five-hour drive and not have a major accident, considering it was my first time on the highway.

So, anyway, since my schedule allows me to be home for lunch, I decided to make myself a big batch of soup. I'm a big fan of soup and especially everything in this one. It's also great to freeze leftovers and eat them during the week when I don't feel like cooking sometimes or if I get too busy!

Chickpea, Tomato, & Barley Soup [Makes 4 servings]
Adapted from Buff Chickpea

- 1 cup barley
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 1 can (14 1/2 ounces) crushed tomatoes
- 1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, for garnish

1. Rinse barley clean under running water. Place in a medium bowl and cover with cold water. Let soak for 1 hour; drain. [I skipped the soaking since I used quick barley.]
2. In a large soup pot, heat oil over medium. Add onion and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes. Add bay leaves, paprika, cumin, barley, and broth. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 30 minutes or until barley is tender.
3. Add tomatoes and chickpeas and cook for 20 minutes or until flavors have blended. Discard bay leaves. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro before serving.

Chickpea, Tomato, & Barley Soup

I left out carrots and celery because I didn't have celery on hand and I don't really like carrots in soup. This is actually more of a stew than a soup because there is very little broth. I purposefully left out an extra cup of water, so you can add it in if you prefer a soup. I actually really love these flavors together. Once they come together after 20 minutes of simmering, they taste fantastic. I love that the cumin is not overpowering because sometimes it can be, but it's more of a background flavor in this recipe.

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