This delicious and nutritious soup was made in a flash with a little preliminary work a few hours beforehand. The soup is made of barley, lentils, and green split peas, with onions, celery, and carrots.
To have this ready very quickly, I did my famous bean soak pre-cooking trick in my 24-ounce Nissan-Thermos vacuum bottle. How? Pre-heat the vacuum bottle with boiling water. Leave it in for about ten minutes or so, and then pour it out. Quickly bring the water back to the boil, and add a quarter cup each of barley, lentils, and green (or yellow) split peas. Fill the vacuum bottle up with boiling water, cap it tightly, and let it sit for about three hours.
At this point, your work is done – UNLESS – you want to do the sautéing of the carrots, celery, and onion now instead of when you are actually making the soup. It’s really easier to do it at serving time because then you can just get everything cooked and then add the soaked legumes, but if you are going to be rushed at serving time, then it’s best to have everything pre-cooked.
At serving time, heat up some (hopefully homemade) bone broth and add the legumes, barley, and veggies. Add whatever meat you like, if any, and whatever seasonings appeal to you. I always add a little poultry seasoning – really, just a little, you don’t want to actually taste it – to whatever seasonings I am using. It somehow deepens the flavor just a bit.
If I have roasted red peppers around – in they go. If you are slicing up tomatoes, then chop up that first slice that you cut off from the top and toss in the pieces. The bits of red color are really nice.
I usually serve this with additional white rice, which I’ve cooked in another vacuum bottle. White rice is tricky, though. It doesn’t really lend itself to a hands-off situation. After two major disasters, I finally conquered it. It won’t cook entirely in the vacuum bottle because it gets way too sticky. My method for dealing with it is to do the pre-heat thing, and then measure in 3/4 cup of rice and 1-1/2 cups of boiling water, letting it sit for no more than two hours. Check it after one hour, if you are nervous about it.
The ideal result is that not all of the water will be absorbed, so put the rice and remaining water into a pan on the stove, over low heat and let it absorb the rest of the water where you can watch it, and while you put the rest of the soup together. When the water is all gone, fluff up the rice, and leave the lid ajar, so that steam doesn’t build up in the pan. The best plan is to have the rice pre-cooked and in your refrigerator, but that isn’t always possible.
As I write it all down, this sounds like a lot more work than it really is.
By the way, cornbread goes great with this! Some fresh veggies and/or green salad, and you’ve got yourself a really nutritious meal that is very satisfying to eat.