youtube pinterest twitter facebook instagram vimeo whatsapp Bookmark Entries BURGER NEW Chevron Down Chevron Left Chevron Right Basket Speech Comment Search Video Play Icon Premium Nigella Lawson Vegan Vegetarian Member Speech Recipe Email Bookmark Comment Camera Scales Quantity List Reorder Remove Open book
Menu Signed In
More Guest recipes Recipe search

Bacon, Chestnut and Barley Soup

by , featured in Recipes From Venice
Published by Hardie Grant
Print me

Introduction

Barley and chestnuts were staple winter foods at one time as they could be kept for months, often saving people from famine across Europe. Both, in my opinion, need a bit of a kick with flavour. In the Veneto you would be able to add the end of a leg of prosciutto but we have replaced that with bacon. With the addition of a Parmesan rind this becomes a flavourful, creamy, risotto-like soup that will bring comfort on the chilliest of days.

Barley and chestnuts were staple winter foods at one time as they could be kept for months, often saving people from famine across Europe. Both, in my opinion, need a bit of a kick with flavour. In the Veneto you would be able to add the end of a leg of prosciutto but we have replaced that with bacon. With the addition of a Parmesan rind this becomes a flavourful, creamy, risotto-like soup that will bring comfort on the chilliest of days.

Image of Katie and Giancarlo Caldesi's Bacon, Chestnut and Barley Soup
Photo by Helen Cathcart

Ingredients

Serves: 6-8

Metric Cups
  • 15 grams butter
  • 3 tablespoons good quality extra virgin olive oil (plus extra to serve)
  • 5 rashers unsmoked streaky bacon (finely chopped)
  • 1 quantity soffritto (see below)
  • 2 cloves garlic (lightly crushed)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 long sprig of rosemary
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1½ litres chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 Parmesan rind
  • 100 grams cooked chestnuts
  • 150 grams pearl barley
  • 30 grams finely grated Parmesan

For the soffrito

  • 2 stalks of celery (finely chopped)
  • 1 large white onion (peeled and finely chopped)
  • 2 medium carrots (peeled and finely chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 tablespoons good quality extra virgin olive oil (plus extra to serve)
  • 5 rashers unsmoked bacon (finely chopped)
  • 1 quantity soffritto (see below)
  • 2 cloves garlic (lightly crushed)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 long sprig of rosemary
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 Parmesan rind
  • ⅔ cup cooked chestnuts
  • ⅔ cup pearl barley
  • 1 ounce finely grated Parmesan

For the soffrito

  • 2 stalks of celery (finely chopped)
  • 1 large white onion (peeled and finely chopped)
  • 2 medium carrots (peeled and finely chopped)

Method

Bacon, Chestnut and Barley Soup is a guest recipe by Katie and Giancarlo Caldesi so we are not able to answer questions regarding this recipe

  1. Heat the butter and oil over a medium heat in a large heavy-based saucepan and fry the streaky bacon, soffritto ingredients, garlic, bay leaf, rosemary and seasoning for 10–15 minutes until the vegetables start to soften and become translucent.
  2. Add the stock and Parmesan rind to the pan, increase the heat and bring to the boil, stirring through. Crumble in half of the chestnuts and add the pearl barley.
  3. When the soup is spluttering, reduce the heat to a simmer so that it bubbles gently. Stir every now and again for around 25 minutes or until the barley is soft, adding more stock or hot water if necessary. Serve in warm bowls scattered with the remaining crumbled chestnuts, a swirl of oil, a little black pepper and the Parmesan.
  1. Heat the butter and oil over a medium heat in a large heavy-based saucepan and fry the bacon, soffritto ingredients, garlic, bay leaf, rosemary and seasoning for 10–15 minutes until the vegetables start to soften and become translucent.
  2. Add the stock and Parmesan rind to the pan, increase the heat and bring to the boil, stirring through. Crumble in half of the chestnuts and add the pearl barley.
  3. When the soup is spluttering, reduce the heat to a simmer so that it bubbles gently. Stir every now and again for around 25 minutes or until the barley is soft, adding more stock or hot water if necessary. Serve in warm bowls scattered with the remaining crumbled chestnuts, a swirl of oil, a little black pepper and the Parmesan.

Tell us what you think

PeachMelba Pavlova