We haven’t served soup at The Cup&Mug for 6 months now but with in the last few weeks we’ve turned away quite a number of people who had been looking forward to a hearty bowlful. Our vegetable soup received the highest accolade when a very sweet elderly lady told me she was 93 years old and hadn’t tasted soup so good since her grandmother and mother’s soup.
A bowl of this soup is a meal in itself and freezes well. To make a big pot full takes some time and effort but put some in the freezer and you have some pre-prepared meals for another day.
A recipe is definitely guidelines rather than rules - it points you in the general direction and you can then exercise your own judgement. However, there are a few ingredients that give this vegetable soup an edge. The secret is in the pearled barley and the swede and parsnip. The barley provides the texture and those two vegetables, the extra flavour.
Parsnip and swede are two very unfashionable root vegetables. In the 1960s in the depths of the Tasmanian winter when few vegetables were available, my mother served mashed swede as part of the standard healthy-but-unappetizing grilled meat and boiled vegetable main meal. It’s two appealing features were its availability and its low price. The downside was the taste.
However, while not having broad general appeal because of their individual taste, both swede and parsnip help make many slow-cooked savoury dishes such as soups, stews and casseroles very flavorsome. They are now at the more expensive end of vegetables because they are not common but it’s well worth paying the extra few dollars. Don’t be surprised if the person on the checkout asks you what they are.
Old-fashioned Vegetable Soup:
Combine the following ingredients in a large saucepan and cook for a couple of hours: