Friday, October 29, 2010

Creamy Vegetable and Barley Soup

I've been wanting to make this soup for a few years now. A combination of a snowy weekend (in Spring!) and my low GI leanings finally spurred me on. I'd wondered about it before- lots of vegies, and using skim milk powder for the Creamy part is unusual and something I hadn't used before. My version is  based on a recipe from diabetes 2 by Jody Vassallo, part of the Health for Life series.

For some reason I seem to forget to take photos of meals that I mainly make for lunch. So this is the very last time I ate it, when I added some left over creamed corn to it to pad it out. Not exactly representative of the soup, but you get the idea.

Barley has one of the lowest GI values of any carbohydrate food (25), and it actually lowers the GI of any meal. It's not a food that I have eaten all that frequently, but I can sense that it may be in my future. I have used it in soups a few times, but not regularly, and have never tried it as a side dish. There is a recipe for Pesto Barley in the same book that might be tasty.

Creamy Vegetable and Barley Soup

1 cup (195g/6 1/2 oz) pearl barley
2 tsp canola oil
4 eschallots
2 large carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 medium parsnip, chopped
2 medium zucchini (courgette), thickly sliced
300 g (10oz) pumpkin, chopped
Sea salt, freshly ground pepper
2 large sprigs thyme
6 cups (1.5L/48 fl oz) hot reduced salt vegetable stock
1 cup (150g/5 oz) fresh or frozen peas
1 cup (200g/6 1/2 oz) fresh or frozen corn kernels
1 cup (100g/ 3 1/3 oz) skim milk powder
2 tblsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 Put the barley into a large pan, cover with water and cook over medium heat for 40 minutes or until the barley is soft. Add extra water during cooking if the barley is drying out. Drain well.

2 Heat the canola oil in a large pan, add the eschallots, carrot and celery. Cover and sweat over low heat for 10 minutes until soft.

3 Add the parsnip, pumpkin, thyme and stock and bring to the boil. Season to taste. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add zucchini. Cook for a further 15 minutes until vegetables are soft.

4 Add the peas, corn, and barley and simmer for 5 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked. Add skim milk powder and parsley.

Serves 6

per serve fat 4.5 g, protein 17.5 g, carbohydrate 48.5g, fibre 10.5g, cholesterol 5.5mg, energy 1280 kJ (305 cal), gi 38 low

I made quite a few modifications to the recipe, with ingredients and technique.
The recipe called for leek but as there were no leeks available when I made this,  I substituted 4 eschallots. For some reason onion terminology is very confusing in different countries, this is what an Australian means by eschallot or french shallot.

Even though the zucchini were thickly sliced, I didn't want to cook them for half an hour so I added them 15 minutes in.
I'm always suspicious of recipes with no seasoning, and don't think they taste all that good, so I added salt, pepper and a couple of large sprigs of thyme (just because I'd bought some for something else so had it on hand)
The original recipe added the peas, corn and milk powder at the same time. The milk powder bubbled up and looked lumpy. I would add it at the end, after the peas and corn had cooked.
It was quite nice, I'd be happy to make it again.

Update 2016 I have indeed made this soup many times over the years. It's a little bit different each time depending on the veggies I have available to me, or  in the fridge, but it's perfectly adaptable.

Crossposted from adventuresinalowgiworld

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Lemon and Broccolini Chicken Soup

I made this soup the week before I renewed my efforts to eat a low GI diet. Happily this soup is something I would eat anyway, but just happens to be low GI. I used the batch for my work lunches that week and felt very virtuous.

This is a Donna Hay recipe from the Sunday Telegraph Magazine 22/8/2010

Broccolini is perhaps an under-utilised vegetable. At least in our house. Not sure why, I guess I'm just not in the habit of buying it. Somehow I don't think of it. Even though it is nice. It's a relatively new vegetable, a cross between broccoli and kai-lan (Chinese broccoli), not simply young broccoli- despite the fact that my local supermarket had it labelled as baby broccoli. Although I note wiki  tells us that it's "generic name" is baby broccoli, whatever that means.

Green vegetables usually have such small amounts of carbohydrate that their GI can't be measured. Pasta generally has a low GI (30-60), portion size is important, and the pasta needs to be al dente.

Lemon and Broccolini Chicken Soup

1 1/2 litres chicken stock
2 x 200g chicken breast fillets, trimmed
2 tblsp olive oil
150g fennel, thinly sliced
1 brown onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tblsp finely grated lemon rind
150g risoni
2 bunches broccolini, trimmed and chopped
1/2 cup basil leaves

Place the stock in a large saucepan over high heat and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low. Add the chicken and cook for 15 minutes or until cooked through. Remove the chicken from the pan and shred the meat. Remove the stock from the heat and set aside. Heat the oil in a saucepan over high heat. Add the fennel, onion and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes or until the onion is softened.

Add the lemon rind and stock and bring to the boil. Add the pasta and cook for 8 minutes. Add the broccolini and cook for a further 3 minutes or until the pasta is al dente and the broccolini is tender.

Stir through the shredded chicken and basil to serve. Serves 4.

Nice and quick to make, tasty and nutritious.
There was not nearly enough liquid in my soup. I added more water and it still wasn't enough.
The overwhelming flavours were from the fennel and broccolini, and occasionally the basil.
The basil immediately went black and looked unappealing.
Also posted on my adventures in a low GI world blog