I mentioned before that I am predominately Polish and I learned about my heritage mostly from my amazing grandmother (see my Pierogi post). I am heartbroken to say she passed away this week. My family has another angel to watch over us all now. She died of atherosclerosis, hardening of the arteries to due to fatty build up. I originally went vegan after my uncle passed from a heart attack, vowing I would do everything I could to counteract my family health history. Now I know I will never go back to the standard American diet. The best way I can honor her memory is to live a long healthy, happy life. I want to live to see my great-grand children. I will tell the stories my grandma told me about her mother’s life back in Poland, and teach them how to make delicous Polish dishes.
I heard my grandma mention barley soup before, but when she visited we usually made pierogi or kapusta. I have wanted to make this soup for awhile, mainly because it is already vegan friendly. This is popular dish is quintessential peasant food. There are various recipes with different vegetable variations. This is common version (and it happens to already be vegan). There are ones that have meat, but meat scrapes used to be hard to come by, so it was a treat on occasion only.
This recipe makes 4-6 servings.
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 cups porcini mushrooms, sliced
2 medium carrots, sliced
2 medium potatoes, diced
1 clove of garlic, minced
10 cups vegetable stock (a few cups can be water)
1 cup pearl barley
1 tsp dried parsley
1 bay leaf
1 tsp paprika
Salt and pepper, to taste
Heat some olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.
Add the onion, mushrooms, carrots, and potatoes. Cook until the onions are slightly translucent and the potatoes soften.
Add the garlic and cook for one more minute.
Add the vegetable stock.
Add the barley, parsley and the bay leaf. Mix together well.
Bring to boil, then reduce to a simmer.
Cover and cook for 1 hour, stir occasionally.
Once the barley is cooked, season with paprika, salt, and pepper.
I garnished it with a bit more paprika and some dill. I also had a side of pickled beats and kapusta I bought at a Slavic store.
I miss you so much already my beautiful babcia. Thank you for teaching about my heritage. I will always be a proud little Polish girl.