As cold winds chill the air, and the leaves turn from green to gold and red, Barley Soup with Ham will deliver warmth and good cheer to body and soul. Truly comforting food. If you have baked ham or roast fresh ham left over from a holiday or Sunday dinner, this is a spectacular way to use the meat to make a great meal.
- 3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 carrots, diced
- 2 ribs celery, diced
- 3/4 Cup pearl barley
- 6 Cups chicken broth
- 1 small imported bay leaf
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/2 Cup diced smoked ham or leftover baked or roasted ham
- 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/3 pound fresh mushrooms, trimmed and chopped
- 3 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 Cup fresh or frozen peas
- 1 Tablespoon fresh parsley leaves, minced
- salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- Put the oil and onion in a soup kettle, set over low heat, and cook until the onions are softened, about 5 minutes. Raise heat to medium, stir in the garlic and carrots, and stir-cook for one minute.
- Add the celery and stir-cook for a minute. Add the barley, broth, bay leaf, and allspice. Bring to the boil, skimming the top of the soup as necessary. Simmer, covered, for about one hour, or until the barley is tender. (The soup may be prepared in advance to this point.)
- Stir the ham into the piping hot soup and let simmer while you prepare the mushrooms. Heat the butter in a small skillet, add the mushrooms and lemon juice, and stir-cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Stir in the parsley. Add the mushroom mixture and peas to the soup and simmer for 5 minutes longer.
- Discard the bay leaf. Season the soup with salt and freshly-ground pepper to taste. Ladle into warmed bowls and serve immediately.
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