It's hot. Outside, that is.
Here in Atlanta, we experienced a bit of a heat wave last week. When I say a "bit" of one, I mean it was unbearably hot that I had a hard time leaving the house. When its 90 by 10 am (!!!), my reverse seasonal disorder kicks in and all I want to do is lay around. If it's too hot for me to put clothes on to go to the grocery store, you know darned well it's too hot to be actually cooking anything.
Thankfully, I am a huge fan of cold summer soups. Gazpacho, in particular. My mom always made it and when I was younger, it was just one of those weird foods. As I got older, I started to appreciate the depth of flavors and its versatility more and more. While I love the pureed, thinner kind...my mom's version was always a little chunkier, so that's my preference.
I ran across this version on-line and was intrigued by the addition of barley into the soup. I've never had gazpacho with anything but veggies in it. The barley added some oomph to the soup, made it more filling while still allowing it to be light and refreshing. I didn't use the canned spicy tomato juice, choosing instead to add my own Tabasco and spices. I also substituted a fresh seeded jalapeno for the canned ones. It was delicious the day I made it but I highly recommend letting the flavors stew and percolate together overnight.
Chilled Barley Gazpacho Soup - adapted from a recipe originally found here
- Three 13-ounce cans low-sodium spicy tomato juice
- Two 14 1/2-ounce cans chopped tomatoes and juice
- 2 cups cooked pearl barley (see note)
- 1 cup peeled, seeded and chopped cucumber
- 1 cup chopped red bell pepper
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro or Italian parsley leaves
- 1/4 cup chopped green onion
- 1 tablespoon chopped canned jalapeno chilies
- 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
- 1/2 ripe avocado, peeled, seeded and sliced
Cook's tips to help in preparation: To seed cucumber, cut in half and use a small measuring spoon to scrape out seeds. Your gazpacho may be prepared ahead and refrigerated — in fact, making it a couple of days before serving allows the flavors to blend better — but do not add avocado until serving time.
To cook pearl barley:
In medium saucepan with lid, bring 3 cups water to a boil. Add 1 cup pearl barley; return to boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook 45 minutes or until barley is tender and liquid is absorbed. Makes about 3 to 3 1/2 cups. Place any extra cooked barley in an airtight container and refrigerate or freeze for up to one week. For best results, bring cooked and chilled barley to room temperature before using.
In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except avocado. Cover and refrigerate to chill. When ready to serve, ladle into soup bowls and garnish with avocado slices