I cannot even count the times that I have made this soup! My husband and I, in West Central Florida, look so forward to winter and soup weather in particular because of this recipe. It has gotten to the point that I don't even need to reference the recipe any longer because I have made it so many times. That being said, I do have to say that I add more barley than called for because husband is a confirmed "stewp" guy, so a little thicker towards the stew end of the spectrum is how he likes it!
A really easy switch-up, along the line of Nancy's cabbage suggestion, is to add chopped kale when the soup is ready to serve. Just grab a bag of the prepped stuff in the produce aisle and add as much as you like. Give it a quick stir, and if you like your greens with some "tooth" left to them you are ready to go. Otherwise, you can let them soften up as much as you like which takes practically no time at all.
For just a little chopping, it is soooo darn good and warms you right through. SUPERB as a "planned over" too -- nothing quite like soup the second day. On many occasions I have gotten out the BIG soup pot and made a double batch just to have a stash in the freezer. Such a great timesaver when needing something good and satisfying after a day that has left you with no desire to cook. Grab from the freeze and pop it in the microwave while you change outta the day and decompress for a little bit.
I know what is on the menu tonight!
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I cannot even count the times that I have made this soup! My husband and I, in West Central...