This soup is really healthy and so delicious. I was feeling a little hung over on sunday after a brilliant night out with family in Nottingham and when I got home I just needed something nutritious that would cuddle me from the inside and halt the cold I could feel coming on. This soup did the trick and in fact it made me feel even better than I had done before!
The recipe is adapted from a Chicken, Pearl Barley, Mushroom and Tarragon soup from the Leon Ingredients and Recipes cookbook by Allegra McEvedy. I’ve made this soup a couple of times before without the chicken and it is amazing but I decided to make it vegan and gluten-free to tie in with my new dietary requirements and also I have simplified the method because I like meals which are fast and easy to knock up when you’re in desperate need for a goodness quick fix.
I spent Saturday morning going through my cupboards and looking at what store cupboard basics I had which were gluten-free. I didn’t realise Pearl Barley is not GF friendly so I returned to my ultimate favourite grain – quinoa (pronounced Keen-wah). Quinoa is great in soups because it adds a protein element, bulking up what would otherwise be a very light meal.
Also it looks so pretty because as it cooks it expands and becomes little delicate swirls of fluffy grains. It contrasts nicely with the tarragon, a herb I actually haven’t really used much before, which has a stronger flavour and brings a real savoury earthiness to the soup. Then you have the soft mushrooms which add a different texture element again.
Serves 4-6 (I personally made this into 4 portions because I had nice big bowls of it)
2 Onions2 Carrots
2-3 Celery Sticks
3 Garlic Cloves
1 Red Chili
300g Closed Cup Mushrooms
Small Bunch Tarragon
Small Bunch Parsley
1.4 litres Gluten Free Vegetable Stock (preferably organic)
To prepare your vegetables – Peel and dice the onions and carrots. Trim the ends off your celery and thinly slice. Peel and finely slice the garlic. Deseed the Red chilli and finely dice it. Roughly chop your herbs.
In a large saucepan heat a little olive oil, add the onions, celery and carrots and cook stirring frequently for 6-8 minutes then add the garlic, chilli and chopped herbs and continue to cook for a further 5 minutes. It should start to smell really good by this point!
While that is cooking slice your mushrooms roughly and then add to the pan with the quinoa and cook for a further 2 minutes then add your vegetable stock. Put a lid on, turn the heat down slightly and leave to cook for 20 minutes.
You’ll know it is ready when the vegetables are soft and the quinoa has puffed up and is soft to bite. Serve with some fresh parsley and some nice bread to dip in if you fancy it.