Ward off the winter chill with some hot soup! I used lots of well keeping local ingredients (well, except the red pepper, that came from Mexico) To make a hearty colorful seasonal soup.
First is the squash du jour - Butternut. Sweet and mild, not to mention colorful! Halve and de-seed it, keep the seeds for toasting, and put it in a pan of water to bake. At the same time Put a cup of beans in a pressure cooker (white navy beans were my choice, not too strong flavored)
Then I gathered my veggies. Onion and garlic of course, carrots and their tops, fennel and...
Fresh Parsley! The "jungle" or herbs in the window sill is still thriving and I forget to cut it back from time to time. Best culinary investment you can make is a few small pots, some packs of seeds and good soil. I have been cutting off the same basil and parsley for 8 months now and cilantro and dill are coming up again!
Saute the diced veggies until tender, then add to a pot of water with barley and salt. One could add broth or stock, but I find a pile of veggies makes a fine broth for it's self. So colorful! Fennel makes a nice tangy alternative to celery, but really serves up about the same - crunchy and green!
About when the beans are tender and the squash is soft the barley will be plumping. Mush the squash a little and leave it on simmer for a good long while (no really, go do your dailies, don't watch it. The longer it simmers the better it will be) I added lemon juice and orange zest for a little tang and voila - a deep orange soup with hearty beans and grains. YUM!