Week 37 recipe- Provencal Tomato Soup

 Prep Time 20 min

 Serving Size 4


2 tablespoons olive oil

1 small onion, chopped

3 bay leaves

Pinch of cayenne

¼ teaspoon brown sugar

2 pounds tomatoes, diced or 1 (28-ounce) can of chopped tomatoes

6 to 8 cloves of garlic, smashed and peeled

1 quart low-sodium stock or water

¼ cups pearl barley

Parmesan rind (optional)

Sea salt, to taste

Fresh basil



Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a wide, heavy-bottomed pan. Add the onion and cook for a minute. Turn the heat to medium, add the bay leaves and sweat the onion until it starts to soften, about 8 minutes. It shouldn’t color, so stir from time to time to prevent it sticking and burning.

Turn the heat up to medium-high. Add the cayenne pepper, sugar and cook for a minute, then add the tomatoes and garlic. Cook, stirring until the tomatoes take on an orangey hue and have reduced a little.

Add the pearl barley, Parmesan rind, if using, and the stock, plus salt to taste. Bring to a simmer, lower the heat and cover. Cook until the barley is tender enough to smash with a spoon against the side of the pan, about 40 minutes. If substituting Arborio rice, it will take about half the amount of time to cook.

Let the soup sit for a few minutes. Remove the bay leaves and blend thoroughly, in batches, using either a wand blender or a freestanding one. Return to the pot, check the seasoning and add a grind or two of black pepper. Serve as is or with a few torn basil leaves or a little pesto stirred into it.