This is a real winter warmer. It would be perfect on a wet, stormy day when you come through the door shivering and soaked to the bone. The weather was actually fairly still and dry today, but this broth was still like a wonderful hug in a bowl when we got in.
‘Broth’ is such a lovely wintery word anyway isn’t it? It’s comfort food but without any of the unhealthy connotations. This one is packed full of autumnal vegetables, which can’t help but make you feel better – especially if you’ve managed to pick up a cold.
I served this with wedges of crusty bread, but it’s easily substantial enough to have by itself.
This will serve 4 and be ready in about 40 minutes.
Pearl Barley, Vegetable and Bacon Broth
1 tbsp olive oil
300g smoked bacon lardons
2 cloves garlic
250g pearl barley
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 glass white wine
650ml chicken stock
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp dried thyme
1 small cabbage
1. Put the oil in a large casserole dish/saucepan and put on a high heat. Add the bacon lardons and cook until starting to crisp.
2. Add the sliced leeks and carrots and turn down the heat. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring often to make sure it doesn’t catch.
3. Add the chopped garlic and cook for a further 30 seconds. Tip in the pearl barley and mustard, stir, then add the wine. Let it simmer down for a few seconds, then add the stock, rosemary, thyme and a little salt and pepper. Stir well, cover, and cook for another 10-15 minutes.
4. Taste the broth – add a little more seasoning or mustard if it needs and extra kick, then add the thinly sliced cabbage. Put the lid back on and cook for a further 5 minutes. Done!