The wind is howling and puffing and blowing outside and it’s been doing that all day. I live at the top of an 8-story apartment building, and I can hear the whistling of the wind, the rattling of the window pane and the whole building feels like it may be swaying just a bit. Probably unlikely, though – this building has been here since the 1950s, so I don’t think we’re going anywhere.
I love a windy day – especially a day like this one when it really isn’t very cold outside. I just took a short walk, and love the way the wind gusted up around the trees and buildings, across my face, through the hat I was wearing and pushing my winter coat back against me. There is something about standing there, leaning slightly into the heavy gusts, looking out into the dark, starless night, that I found so enlivening and refreshing. Woohoo! Bring it on.
Here’s a hearty soup that’s well-suited for a windy winter day like this one. It takes a bit of pre-planning since you’ll need to soak the grains and beans, but you can pop them in a bowl with water before you go to bed and they’ll be ready to go by the time you need them the next day. Or you could use canned beans and pre-cooked grains leftover from something else, and then this comes together in about 20 minutes.
The soup has one secret, unusual, and completely crucial ingredient: the juice of one Clementine. This adds a bright, sweet note without the sharpness that lemon juice or vinegar might bring. Enjoy!
Kidney Bean, Kale and Barley Soup
1 cup kidney beans, soaked overnight, soaking water drained away, and rinsed
1/2 cup barley, soaked overnight, soaking water drained away, and rinsed
3 cups water
1 yellow onion, peeled and diced
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
1 celery rib, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
leaves from 4 thyme sprigs
2-3 kale leaves, ribs removed and chopped small
2 cups / 500 ml vegetable broth or 2 cups water + 2 tablespoons homemade bouillon
salt and pepper to taste
Juice of one Clementine
In a medium pot, combine the beans, barley and water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 40 minutes.
While the beans and barley cook, heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a medium-sized pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot and celery, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are very soft and beginning to caramelize, about 15 minutes. Add the garlic and thyme leaves and cook for 2 minutes more. Add the beans, barley and cooking water all at once. Add the vegetable broth or water+homemade bouillon. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce to medium heat, and cook for 15 minutes. Take a bite of the beans and barley to make sure they are cooked. If they are done, add the kale, and continue cooking for 3-5 more minutes to let the kale soften. Remove from heat. Add salt and pepper if needed. Serve.