Soup Lessons

While I was obsessed with the inauguration, it certainly didn’t keep me for my cooking.  On Wednesday, I gave my friend LH a cooking lesson.  She does not have a repertoire of soup recipes and wanted a lesson on soup.  Turned out to be the perfect day for it.  After 2 weeks of ridiculously beautiful weather, we had our first rainy (drizzly, actually) cool day.

Here are the soups we made:

Red Lentil and Barley

Creamy Tomato

Zucchini with Leeks

The Red Lentil and Barley soup is based on a recipe that I got with a package of organic red lentils and barley (combined) at the fabulous Phipps Farm in Pescadero, CA.  This old style farm has the most incredible selection of beans that I’ve ever seen.  Their recipe is too salty for me and adds some items that I don’t care for.  It is a very hearty, earthy soup – a bit sweet from the carrots and tomatoes.  Definitely a “health in a bowl” type of soup, especially if you use a barley that retains some of its fiber (though regular pearled barley works just fine).


The Tomato Soup is a recipe that I made up for a teacher luncheon at school.  I made the original for 40 people, but scaled it back because so many of the teachers asked for the recipe.  It is pretty simple and is best served with a little grated parmesan and chopped, fresh basil.

I didn’t like the on-the-fly recipe for Zucchini soup that we made.  It was fine, but too much oniony-leeky flavor.  I’ll experiment a little bit before posting a recipe for that soup.  Not worthy.


Red Lentil Barley Soup

(adapted from Phipp’s Farm package)


1 onion, chopped

2 large ribs celery, ½ inch dice

1 clove garlic, minced

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 28 oz. can whole plum tomatoes

3/4 cup red lentils

3/4 cup barley

6 cups water

2 vegetable bouillion cubes (I used that stuff “Better than Bouillion”)

2 large carrots, thinly sliced

1/2 tsp dried rosemary, crumbled

1/2 tsp dried oregano, crumbled

1 bay leaf

1/4 tsp. black pepper


Saute onion, celery and garlic in olive oil in a stock pot, until tender, about 10 minutes.  Add the rest of the ingredients, bring to a boil, then simmer, covered, until the lentils, barley and carrots are tender – 50-60 minutes.  Stir occasionally while simmering.  Because the barley continues to soak up the liquid, you may need to add more liquid before serving (especially if you refrigerate the soup and serve on another day).



Suzanne’s Tomato Soup Recipe for Teacher Luncheon


1 large onion, chopped ½  inch dice

2 carrots, chopped ½ inch dice

2 stalks celery, chopped ½ inch dice

1 clove garlic, minced


2 Tbsp. unsalted butter


1 28 oz. can whole plum tomatoes


1 large Russet potatoes, chopped in 1 inch chunks


1 chicken bouillon cube (can use broth, but then eliminate water to cover – can use vegetable broth/cube as well)


1/2 tsp. herbes de provence


Water to cover


¼ cup heavy cream


Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


Fresh croutons, grana padano slices and chopped basil for garnish


Saute onions, carrots, celery, and garlic in butter until wilted and onions are beginning to color.  Add tomatoes (break up with your hands as you add them or chop before you add them), potatoes, bouillon cube, herbes de provence, and water to cover.


Bring to a boil, then simmer, covered, for about 45 minutes.


Using an immersion blender, blend until fairly smooth – no big chunks left.  Add cream and salt and pepper, to taste.


To serve, put a couple of croutons, a few slices of the grana padano (or other hard, parmesan-like cheese), and a pinch of freshly chopped basil in the soup bowl  Pour the hot soup on top.  Enjoy!


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