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Winter soup

December 22, 2006 am31 1:38 am

At least once a year, I make Winter Soup. I suppose it has a real name, but since I was a kid, that’s all we’ve ever called it. And we’ve always had it at least once a year.

Now that I’m grown up (sort of) I make my own Winter Soup, but I still make quantity suitable for a family of 4, with leftovers for a few days. For me it is going to be lunch and dinner, on and off, for over a week, unless I decide to freeze some.

I think I have changed the recipe over time. I am, in fact, certain of it. My mother did not use as much black pepper, and she didn’t boil the pulses long enough. She rarely threw in parsnips. I’ve changed to a Bronx seasoning brand. But those are changes of degree, not kind.


  • lentils
  • split peas (I prefer mixed yellow and green)
  • barley
  • marrow bones
  • neck bones
  • carrots
  • celery
  • parsnips
  • parsley
  • onion
  • black pepper, to taste
  • Sazon seasoning (my mom used GW Gravy)

Quantities and Directions here —–>

Quanitities are an interesting issue. Maybe 3/4 pound of barley, lentil, split peas, combined. One store package of bones is enough, but then I add neck bones, which is probably overkill. One store package of carrots (1 lb), 1 bunch of celery, 1 bunch of parsley. A couple of parsnips are enough, but I end up tossing in all I have. Two medium onions are fine. I only use one seasoning packet (sodium, bad bad bad for me), but lots and lots and lots of black pepper.

Rinse the barley, lentil, and split peasa few times, until the grit is washed out. Boil them hard in a big pot for about an hour. Throw in the meat and bones, continue boiling for another hour or so. Add seasoning packet, and a first round of ground black pepper (I like putting a solid layer across the top of the pot.) Toss in chopped vegetables, drop to a simmer, and cook slowly until the vegetables soften. Serve.

Reheat. There are two options here. Pour off enough to make a meal, throw some new black pepper on top, and reheat that; or better, time allowing, reheat the whole mess for a few more hours. This will, if the cooking proceeds long enough, change the marrow broth with peas and vegetables into a thick peppery vegetable/barley/marrow gruel, which is sort of what I really am going for. By the end of the week, this “soup” can be eaten with a fork.

Note: I don’t suck on the marrow bones. It is a shame. I think they are probably delicious.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. PAUL BERGMANN permalink
    February 11, 2007 pm28 11:00 pm 11:00 pm


  2. February 13, 2007 pm28 4:19 pm 4:19 pm

    I think I see George Washington seasoning on supermarket shelves still. Other than that, I just don’t know. My taste has changed, so I don’t look for it. A quick google tells me some people still use it, and some people have trouble finding it, sor whatever that’s worth.

    Your timing was perfect. I went out yesterday and bought bones for a new batch; with the snow moving in it seemed like the right thing to do.

  3. November 4, 2007 pm30 7:39 pm 7:39 pm

    I think it’s wonderful that this is a family recipe! It definitely sounds like a stick-to-your-ribs meal.


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