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Barley Soup RECIPE

This recipe was contributed by Shirley Cline.

Shirley was a great inspiration when I first started working on the idea of creating a recipe and cooking web site. Not only did she encourage me but she also supplied a great many recipes and other pieces which are featured throughout the site. Her great achievement was to teach me to cook risotto over the internet!

Although I never had the chance to meet Shirley, or even talk to her, I regarded her as a good friend. It was with great sadness that I learnt that she passed away in Autumn 2004 and that there would be no more emails. I think she will be sadly missed by a lot of people like me to whom she gave such pleasure with the sharing or her recipes. The pleasure my children have had from her recipe for Strawberries with Balsamic Vinegar and Mint - not to mention the fights for seconds - has been a joy to behold.

"This recipe is from the north-eastern region of Trentino."


1 1/4 cups pearl barley, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup coarsely chopped onion
1/4 cup plus 2 Tblsp extra virgin olive oil 
2 oz prosciutto or pancetta, finely chopped (1/3 cup)
1 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary or 1/2 tsp dried
1 Tblsp coarsely chopped Italian flat leaf parsley
1 medium all purpose potato, peeled and cut in 1/3 inch dice (2/3 cup)
2 small or 1 large carrot, cut in 1/3 inch dice
1 beef bouillon cube
Salt and pepper to taste
2 - 3 Tblsp freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

  • In a large saucepan, cover the barley with 4 inches of water.
  • Cover and bring to a slow, steady simmer over moderate heat.
  • Reduce the heat to low and cook partially covered until tender, about 1 hour. 
  • Meanwhile in a small skillet, cook the onion in the oil over moderate heat, stirring occasionally until golden about 3 minutes.
  • Add the prosciutto or pancetta and cook, stirring occasionally for 2 - 3 minutes.
  • Stir in the rosemary and parsley and cook for 1 minute.
  • Add the onion mixture, diced potato and carrot and bouillon cube to the cooked barley.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Add a little more water if the soup is too thick.
  • Cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally until the potatoes and carrots are tender about 30 minutes. 
  • Just before serving, stir in the grated cheese.

Shirley Cline

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