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Rutabaga, Leek, and Barley Soup

Adapted from Down to Earth; Great Recipes for Root Vegetables by Georganne Brennan

¼ cup pearl barley

3 cups water

½ teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons butter

1 large leek (or a couple of small ones), including tender greens, minced

1 small rutabaga, peeled and finely diced

4 cups beef or vegetable broth

2 cups water

½ cup half and half

½ cup milk

1 cup julienned, stemmed greens (spinach, kale, collards, etc.)

In a saucepan, combine the barley and water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until tender to the bite, 1 to 1 ½ hours. Remove from the heat, drain, and set aside

In a stockpot over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the leek and rutabaga and sauté until the leek begins to change color, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the broth and water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until the rutabaga is tender, 15 to 20 minutes.

Remove from the heat and let cool slightly. In a blender or food processor, roughly pureé half of the soup and then return it to the pot. Add the reserved barley, the half and half, milk, and greens, and place over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and simmer long enough for the soup to be piping hot and to wilt the greens.

Serves 4.

NOTE: Make this old-fashioned farm soup with other root vegetables as well (like potatoes or celeriac) and with any greens you might have.