This German Barley Soup (Graupensuppe Eintopf) recipe is such a comfort food, especially when served the German way. This classic soup is amped up with bacon and vegetables to lend flavor to whole-grain barley. This would be considered an Eintopf, or one-pot meal.
The traditional Suppengrün mixture (mirepoix) of leek, celery root and carrot, plus potatoes and bacon give substance to an already hearty dish. Truly, this barley soup recipe is a meal in itself and there is 1 full serving of vegetables in each portion.
See the Note, below, for instructions on making this soup in a slow cooker.
Makes 4 servings of German Barley Soup
- 1 onion, small dice
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 leek, small dice
- 1 cup chopped celery root or 2 stalks Pascal celery, small dice
- 2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes or sliced 1/8 inch thick
- 1 medium potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 4 ounces/100 grams bacon or Bauchspeck
- 8 cups water or broth (beef or vegetable)
- 1 whole bay leaf
- 1 cup pearled barley, rinsed
- 3 sprigs parsley
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Clean and chop all vegetables small. Potato should be cut into 1/2-inch cubes and carrot should be cut the same way or into 1/8-inch-thick slices.
- Cut the bacon into thin strips. If you are using Bauchspeck, cut it into strips about 1/4x1/4x1-inch long. Remove any bones from the Speck.
- Heat a 4-quart pan and brown the bacon or Speck in it. Remove the bacon from the pan.
- Start to brown the onion in the bacon grease, then add the garlic, leek, celery root or celery and carrot. Sauté these vegetables for several minutes, until they start to wilt and pick up some color.
- Add the water or broth, the bay leaf, and rinsed the barley. Lay the cleaned parsley sprigs on top (to be removed at the end of cooking time).
- Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. The potatoes will start to fall apart and the barley should be soft and thicken the soup.
- Add salt and pepper to taste. Remember, you are starting with salty bacon and perhaps broth, so season accordingly.
- Remove parsley sprigs and bay leaf. Serve with crusty bread, such as Swiss Wurzelbrot, Bauernbrot, Fladenbrot or a warm baguette from the store.
Note: You also can make this in a slow cooker. Brown the bacon, onion, and garlic, then place all the ingredients in a 4-quart slow cooker (should be at least 1/2 full) and cook on high for 4 to 6 hours.