I'm constantly surprised by the Silver Spoon. I could spend a few years trying to make my way though this exhaustive volume on Italian recipes, but I've spent the majority of my time lingering over the pasta section—and I've had great luck.
What I love about the recipes is they're at once comforting, complex, and really easy to make. That luckily applies to this barley soup, which doesn't sound quite right, and yet comes together perfectly and effortlessly.
Most barley soup recipes have a heavy helping of beef, which might have been really wonderful in mid-January. But now with spring around the corner, I was looking for something a tad lighter. Thankfully cabbage and spinach get the job done here. They bulk it out, making it a filling soup without being a heavy or meaty one.
- 6 1/4 cups chicken stock
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 fresh sage leaf
- 1 cup Savory cabbage, halved and sliced thinly
- 3 cups spinach, chopped
- 3/4 cup pearl barley
- 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
Pour the stock into a large pot. Bring to a boil. While that's warming up, pour the oil into another pot set over low heat. Add the onions and sage and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add the cabbage and the spinach, and cook for 2 minutes.
When the stock is boiling, pour it into the other pan with cabbage and spinach. Turn the heat to medium and cook for 15 minutes. Add the barley and cook for 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with the grated Parmesan, and more salt and pepper to taste.