Thick, hearty and full of flavor, this soup is a perfect winter supper. Although it’s great straight off the stove, it’s even tastier when prepared ahead and refrigerated overnight. Excess fat will rise to the top during storage, and can be skimmed away before heating for a lighter, healthier meal.
|16||ounces||breakfast sausage meat*|
|1/2||teaspoon||freshly ground black pepper|
|1/4||cup||chopped Italian parsley|
|*I use Jimmy Dean’s “Hot” breakfast sausage for its great flavor and lively kick.**Barley is readily available in most grocery stores. Follow the cooking instructions on the package.
1. Pour the chicken stock into a large stockpot and set aside.
2. Place a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the sausage and stir to break into bite-sized pieces. Cook until just done but not browned. (It will continue cooking in the stock.)
3. Add the sausage to the stockpot and return the skillet—with its fat—to the stove over medium high heat. Add the olive oil and heat to sizzling.
4. Add the onions and sprinkle with salt.
5. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are golden and translucent. Adjust the heat as needed while cooking to prevent burning.
6. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
7. Add the carrots and tomato paste, mix well and cook for several minutes. Add small amounts of stock as needed to prevent the mixture from burning.
8. Add the vegetable mixture, barley and pepper to the stockpot and bring it to a lively simmer over high heat. Cover the soup with a lid and lower the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook for 30 minutes to meld the flavors.
9. Adjust the salt and pepper and stir in the parsley.
10. Ladle into bowls and serve.