Hearty barley vegetable soup

2 tbsp canola oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
6 cups vegetable stock or water
heaping ⅓ cup whole grain barley, rinsed
1 bouquet garni, made with 1 bay leaf, fresh thyme sprigs, and fresh parsley sprigs
2 carrots, peeled and diced
14 oz/400 g canned chopped tomatoes
pinch of sugar
½ head Savoy cabbage, cored and shredded
salt and pepper
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley, to garnish
chunky whole wheat bread, to serve


1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion, celery, and garlic and cook over medium heat for 5–7 minutes, until softened.
2. Pour in the stock and bring to a boil, skimming off any foam that rises to the surface with a slotted spoon. Add the barley and bouquet garni, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes–1 hour until the grains are just beginning to soften.
3. Add the carrots, tomatoes with their can juices, and the sugar to the pan. Bring the liquid back to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for an additional 30 minutes, or until the barley and carrots are tender.
4. Just before serving, remove the bouquet garni, stir in the cabbage, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Continue simmering until the cabbage wilts, then ladle into warmed soup bowls and garnish with parsley. Serve with whole wheat bread.

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