This week it finally felt like Fall was in the air, it cooled down enough we opened our windows for the first time all summer (disturbing a few spiders…) and I let out a sign of relief at the fresh air blowing all through the house. Fall in North Carolina is the best time of year, the leaves turn fiery and bright while the weather lends itself to tailgates and Sunday football cookouts. This feeling of Fall makes me think of warm, comfort foods and first on the list was Kindergarten Soup. I have such fond memories of making Kindergarten or Stone soup in my Waldorf School Kindergarten and every Fall growing up. This soup is based on the wonderful story of Stone Soup, which imparts the wisdom of how much we can accomplish coming together and sharing what we have, no matter how little. This nourishing soup soothes your soul and is perfect to share with friends and family. Here is a basic recipe, but the best part about Stone soup is it’s flexibility, you can add in what you like (or have leftover in your fridge) and take out what you don’t. This is a delicious soup that goes perfect with homemade bread. Enjoy!
4 stalks celery
2 medium potatoes
1 medium yellow onion
8 oz sliced mushrooms
3 cloves garlic
1 1/2 cups uncooked pearl barley
2 boxes vegetable broth
2 cups chicken broth (optional)
1/2 cup white wine (chardonnay works great!)
1 1/2-2 teaspoons Mrs. Dash seasoning
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper to taste
Dice garlic and add to a large pot with a good amount (2-3 tablespoons) olive oil. Chop onion, carrots, celery, potatoes, and parsnip into bite sized pieces and add to pot. Stir to coat vegetables with olive oil. Add Mrs. Dash seasoning and a dash of salt and pepper. Cook 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently until onions are translucent and vegetables are fragrant. Add in mushrooms and cook for 1-2 more minutes. Pour in wine and cook for 2-3 minutes or until evaporated. I always add a splash more wine than the recipe calls for so feel free to improvise :). Pour the vegetable and chicken broth over the vegetables and toss the bay leaves in, stir to combine. Simmer for 45 minutes or until vegetables are done to your liking (I always taste a chunk of potato to test for doneness). While soup is simmering, cook barley according to package instructions. After vegetables are cooked remove soup from heat, add barley and let sit for an hour or two to allow flavors time to develop. Serve with freshly baked bread or that loaf of crusty white bread from the farmer’s market or heck, some sourdough left over from sandwiches during the week.
Remember you can add in whatever vegetables you have in your fridge (zucchini is great!) or leave out what you don’t like (the boyfriend doesn’t like celery so I took that out when I made it and tossed in a few more mushrooms). There is no one recipe for Stone soup, so improvise with your favorite veggies and ingredients! You can even add in a stone (the first ingredient in the story) if you feel like it.