- Melt the butter in a large saucepan and add the onion, potatoes and half the diced carrots. Cook for a few minutes to soften, then pour in the stock. Put the lid on the pan and bring to a boil, then simmer for about 15–20 minutes, until all the vegetables are tender. Draw the pan off the heat and whiz with a stick blender until very smooth.
- Add the remaining vegetables to the soup base along with the barley. Cover the pan and simmer for about 7–10 minutes, until the barley and vegetables are tender. The barley naturally thickens the liquid, so keep an eye on it and top up with a little water if the soup begins to get too thick, or it will not cook properly and may catch on the base of the pan.
- Once the vegetables are tender, stir in the herbs and season well. This soup loves freshly ground black pepper, so make sure your pepper mill is full. Finally, and just before serving, stir in the cream to just give that added richness.
- Ladle the soup into bowls or mugs and serve with crusty home-baked bread or a good soda bread.
For a meaty version, stir 250g cooked pulled lamb into the soup when you add the herbs
100g butter 1 small onion, diced 2 potatoes, peeled and diced 2 carrots, peeled and diced 800 ml vegetable stock 1 parsnip, peeled and diced ¼ celeriac root, peeled and diced ¼ swede, peeled and diced 2 celery sticks, sliced 1 leek, finely sliced 90g pearl barley a handful of fresh parsley, roughly chopped a bunch of fresh thyme, leaves only 100 ml double cream sea salt and ground black pepper
Time: 10 mins Serves: 6 Nutrition: n/a