Sometimes I think that barley as a grain is undervalued. When properly cooked, mixed with various spices, herbs and some other aromatics, this healthy grain is really delicious. In many cases barley could be a good substitute for rice.
My barley fish soup can be prepared with rice or barley. This time I chose barley which gives an interesting texture and earthy flavor to the soup. Hearty and, at the same time light, this tasty and healthy soup will make my day.
Barley Fish Soup
one 3-quart pot
- ½ medium onion, chopped
- 2 large cloves garlic, minced
- 2 medium carrots, finely or coarsely cut
- 1 chili pepper, finely chopped (or a pinch of cayenne pepper, a pinch of red pepper flakes)
- ¾ cup pearl barley
- 2 sticks celery, chopped
- 1 can tomatoes (14-15 oz) or 1 large tomato, chopped
- 1 lb fish fillet to taste (salmon, trout, tuna, cod, sea bass, catfish, perch or 2 cans of solid tuna in water)
- 2 medium pickled cucumbers, chopped
- 5-6 tbsp capers (optional)
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 3 tbsp chopped fresh dill
- 1-2 tbsp olive oil for cooking
- Ground black pepper
- 2 ½ quarts vegetable or fish broth (or water – see Tip)
In a saucepan heat the olive oil, add the onion and cook for 5 minutes until lightly browned.
Add the garlic, sauté for 30-45 seconds.
Add the carrots. Stir.
Add the barley, chili pepper, pour the broth and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat and cook for 10 minutes.
Add the celery, tomatoes with their juices and the tomato paste. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes.
Add the pickles, capers and the fish. Cook for 5-7 minutes. Adjust the seasoning.
Add the dill and cook for 1 minute.
Let the soup stand for 10-20 minutes.
You can use water in place of the broth. In this case add 1-2 bay leaves, ½ tsp each ground coriander, fennel and a pinch of ground allspice or 1 tsp homemade Old Bay seasoning to the soup.
Cook with pleasure!