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Barley Soup with Escarole

Contributed by: Chris, WebAdmin. of

This soup makes a hearty and nutritious winter meal.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 large leeks (white and tender green), well rinsed and sliced
  • Pinch of fennel seed
  • 2 (141/2-ounce) cans vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup dry vermouth or dry white wine
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3/4 cup pearl barley
  • 1 medium head of escarole, root end removed, chopped
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese


In a small soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the leeks and fennel seed. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the leeks are softened and translucent, about five minutes.

Add the broth, vermouth and 11/2 cups water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Stir in the garlic and barley. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook until the barley is tender but still springy, about 45 minutes.

Stir in the escarole and pepper; remove from the heat. Let stand for about one minute, until the escarole is wilted. Ladle into soup bowls, sprinkle the Parmesan cheese on top, and serve.

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