Ham & Barley Soup

 

I don’t know about wherever you were in the world for April 20th, but happy first day of Spring! FINALLY! And… we got snow. About four inches of fluffy, wet snow. Eff you too Connecticut.

So rumor has it some big holiday thing is happening next week. As in, Easter is one week from today. WHO SAID IT COULD BE APRIL? Time needs to calm itself down, have a cup of tea, and stay awhile. Moving and starting new jobs doesn’t help, because you are insanely busy non-stop. Or so it feels like.

And once the weather remembers that it’s Spring now, it will just be crazier. Because I’ve got a window-full of happy sprouts just waiting for fresh tilled Earth! And so many new farmers markets to explore, restaurants to try, and seafood to enjoy!

Whether you celebrate the religious meanings behind Easter or just get excited about peeps and edible bunnies, it is just around the corner. And that means you are likely going to have the typical Easter ham. Even if not, you can take advantage of post-Easter sales and snap one up.

Ham & Barley Soup is a classic “dad recipe”. My dad is the expert, and has been making this for as far back as I can remember. As a kid I didn’t like it very much, but now that my tastes have matured it is one of my absolute favorite cold-weather dishes. Or anytime really. It’s so easy, and so flavorful! It is the perfect use for leftover ham and ham bones, will keep money in your wallet, and fill you up.

Ingredients:

  • Bones from one large ham shank
  • 12 oz pearled barley
  • 4-5 large carrots, cut into coins
  • 2-3 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 1/2 gallons water or stock
  • Optional: bunch fresh kale, torn, extra ham meat
  • Salt & pepper

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Step 1: For this simple dish, the magic is in the time. Simmering the ham bones in the water all day long brings out the depth of flavor. Put the water or stock in a large soup pot with any bones, and simmer for at least 1 hour, up to 12.

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Step 2: Add the carrots, celery, and barley. Simmer for another 30-40 minutes or longer, until everything is softened.

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Step 3: Season to your liking, add extra meat if you have it, or some spinach or kale.

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This soup is deceptively simple but addicting. It makes an awful lot, so be sure you will eat it over several days, are feeding a lot of people, or have some extra freezer space.

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This is the batch I added some kale to once it was cooked. I liked the extra greens, it gave some great color, extra nutrients, and tasted awesome all together. Give it a try, maybe next week!

 

Ham & Barley Soup

Ingredients

  • Bones from one large ham shank
  • 12 oz pearled barley
  • 4-5 large carrots, cut into coins
  • 2-3 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 1/2 gallons water or stock
  • Optional: bunch fresh kale, extra ham meat
  • Salt & pepper

Instructions

  1. For this simple dish, the magic is in the time. Simmering the ham bones in the water all day long brings out the depth of flavor. Put the water or stock in a large pot with any bones, and simmer for at least 1 hour, up to 12.
  2. Add the carrots, celery, and barley. Simmer for another 30-40 minutes or longer, until everything is softened.
  3. Season to your liking, add extra meat if you have it, or some spinach or kale. If using greens, simmer an extra 5-10 minutes to soften them. Serve hot with some fresh bread or biscuits.
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