I wish I could sexy up this post somehow for you; come up with a charming story about this soup and its origins.

Is there charm in wanting healthy food after a weekend full of pumpkin pie, whipped cream, mashed potatoes, turkey and bottomless glasses of red wine?  Not particularly.  It just is.

As a chill has entered the air (so salad just wouldn’t cut it), I took to making myself what amounts to a diet soup.  Like a diet salad, it’s full of high-volume, low-calorie ingredients that are chock full of vitamins, flavonoids, antioxidants and heart-healthy fibre.  See?  Not sexy.  Delicious, however, and the perfect thing to eat as you’re coming down off your tryptophan high.  And the perfect thing to eat before indulging in another piece of leftover pie.  Okay.  That might be the sexy bit.

Dining companion:  Boardwalk Empire

Tomato, red pepper and barley soup

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 4 shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
  • 2 carrots, halved then chopped
  • 2 red peppers, diced
  • 28 oz can of plum tomatoes
  • 2 cups of chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 0.25 cup hulled barley
  • salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat.  Add shallots, peppers and carrots and sweat down for about 5 minutes.  Add garlic, oregano and crushed pepper and saute until fragrant.  Add tomatoes (with juice) and break up with the back of a wooden spoon.  Add some salt and pepper to taste here.

Add stock and bring to a boil.  Add barley, reduce heat to a simmer and cook soup half-covered for about an hour — until barley is cooked, may only take 45 minutes.  Check seasoning and adjust to taste.