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Barley Soup with Scotch

The idea for this hearty, risotto-style soup came to Frederic Morin while he was sitting on a combine in his uncle's barley field. He could smell the peat from the neighboring farm, which reminded him of Scotch whisky.


slideshow More Barley Recipes


  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 4

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  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup barley grits (see Note)
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon Scotch whisky
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup celery leaves
  • 1 ounce dry salami, sliced paper-thin (about 20 slices)
  • Crème fraîche, for serving


  1. In a medium saucepan, bring the broth to a boil. Cover and keep hot over low heat. In a large skillet, cook the barley over moderately high heat, tossing, until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool.
  2. Add the 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil to the skillet and add the onion. Cook over moderate heat, stirring a few times, until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the barley and stir well. Add 1 cup of the hot broth and cook over moderate heat, stirring often, until most of the broth has been absorbed. Continue adding more broth, 1 cup at a time, and stirring often between additions. The soup is finished when all of the broth has been added and the barley is just tender, about 25 minutes. Add the Scotch whisky and then stir in the butter. Season the soup with salt and pepper.
  3. In a small skillet, heat the remaining 1 teaspoon of oil. Add the celery leaves and cook over moderately high heat, tossing, until just wilted, about 10 seconds. Ladle the soup into shallow bowls. Top with the salami and dollop with crème fraîche. Garnish with the celery leaves and serve.

Make Ahead

The soup can be refrigerated overnight. Add more stock as necessary.


Barley grits are either pearled barley or whole-grain barley that has been cut into small pieces. They're available at health food stores or specialty markets.

Contributed By Photo © Fredrika Stjarne Published October 2011

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