With cold season firmly upon us – not to mention those New Year’s resolutions to eat healthy – it’s nice to know that there are some wholesome homemade fixes like beef stew that can keep us going through these next few cold months. Let’s face it, nothing hits the spot like a hearty soup or stew on a cold winter’s day.
Being impatient by nature means that I don’t want to wait hours for warm comfort. I really appreciate anything I can make and eat straight away. If I’m sick, which unfortunately happens more often than I’d like in the winter, I appreciate anything that is easy to make and packs a healthy punch.
This quick version of a sweet potato soup uses ingredients that I typically have in my fridge and pantry. I like to use pearl barley because it cooks faster than pot barley, but it can be substituted with another grain, bean, legume or whatever you have on hand. If you don’t have kale, substitute spinach, Swiss chard or any other leafy green vegetable you like.
I’m often tempted to toss in some shredded cooked chicken or turkey, but if you don’t have any or can’t bear to put any more poultry into your system so close to the end of the holidays, I guarantee that you won’t feel like there’s anything missing if you leave it out.
Here’s what you’ll need:
(Makes 2 to 4 servings.)
2 cups vegetable broth or reduced sodium chicken broth
2 tsp finely chopped fresh ginger or garlic
1/4 cup pearl barley
1 sweet potato (about 3/4 lb/340 g), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch (1 cm) dice
4 cups chopped stemmed kale
In pot, bring broth, 2 cups water and ginger to boil. Add barley and return to boil. Cover and reduce heat to simmer until barley is tender, about 30 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high and add sweet potato; cook, stirring occasionally, for 6 minutes. Stir in kale. Cook, stirring occasionally, until sweet potato is tender. Season with salt and pepper if desired.
Do you like soup on a cold winter’s day?