Leek Barley Soup & Blueberry Cobbler


I enjoy the time when I lift remnants of the last year from the garden, in order to prepare the beds for a new cycle to come. Every year, I am reminded of some of the amazing and sometimes mysterious works of Mother Nature. Lots of hopes, failures, disappointments, frustrations, patience, joy, appreciation, peacefulness and simple happiness–I get these feelings through gardening. Yet all sensory experience really physically kicks chemicals in my brain when working with living plants. They are something so basic and organic yet fundamental in humans’ life in this ever changing world. It is indeed as if I am learning about life itself. This experience has become so much more than just gardening to me. And at the end of the day, I know that there is always a good meal to follow using what’s in season. In fact, it is most exciting to transform these bits and pieces into something hearty and tasty. I begin to feel a sense of triumphant satisfaction regardless of the type or amount of produce on hand, be it a huge bunch of leeks or a handful of cilantro leaves.

In this post, I’m excited to share this soup made with the leeks that just came from a few feet away as a result of my spring cleanup. It was such a reward to turn the last bits of the “onion family bed” into something easy, delicious and soothing. Plus, indoor cleanup created this cobbler dessert thanks to some of last year’s precious blueberries.

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Leek Barley Soup

Serves 4

2 cups leek, sliced into ½ inch rounds
½ teaspoon ginger, finely minced
1 heaped tablespoon butter
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
4 cups water
½ cup pot barley, washed and drained
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Chopped scallions for garnishing

Melt the butter in a large pot and sauté the leek and ginger until softened.

Add the chicken stock, water and barley and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to medium low and simmer until the barley is soft, for about 40 minutes. Skim as necessary.

Adjust with salt and pepper and serve hot with scallions.


Blueberry Cobbler

Serves 6 to 8

1 ½ lbs frozen blueberries, thawed
Lemon juice from ½ lemon
1 teaspoon lemon zest
3 tablespoons cane sugar
1 tablespoon flour

1 cup all purpose flour plus extra for dusting
½ cup rolled oats
¼ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
4 tablespoons cane sugar
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/3 cup cold butter, chopped into pea sized cubes plus more for greasing
1/3 cup 10% fat plain yogurt
1 tablespoon milk for brushing
Sour cream (optional)

Mix the blueberries, lemon juice, zest, sugar and flour in a large bowl. Transfer the blueberry mixture to a greased 9 inch round baking dish or shallow dish similar in size.

Preheat the oven to 375F with a rack in the centre.

Thoroughly combine the flour, salt, baking powder, and 3 tablespoons cane sugar in a bowl. Combine the remaining 1 tablespoon cane sugar and lemon zest in a small bowl and set aside.

In a food processor, pulse the rolled oats until coarsely ground. Add the flour mixture and pulse a few times to blend. Add the butter and pulse until the dough becomes flaky. Then, add the yogurt and pulse until the dough comes off from the side of the bowl of the food processor and becomes a mass.

Dust the work surface with flour and knead the dough a few times, forming into a ball. Flatten the dough with a rolling pin into a 2/3 inch thick disk. Cut the dough into squares.

Place the squares on top of the blueberries. Brush the squares with milk and sprinkle with the lemon zest sugar mixture. Bake until cobbles become golden and juice becomes bubbly, for about 40 minutes.

Serve warm with a dollop of sour cream.


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12. April 2013 by Emi Uchida
Categories: Baked Goods, Dessert, Garden, Recipe, Rice, Soup, Vegetarian | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 10 comments

Comments (10)

  1. Hooray for baby leeks! I love the idea of this simple yet hearty spring soup. And I can’t wait for the summer blueberries to hit the stores… 🙂

    • Hi Eileen. We are very thankful that we can harvest food and eat from our garden, especially when things are still quiet at this time of garden year. I can’t wait to more food to come:)

  2. Your soup and cobbler both look so delicious, thanks for the recipes! Your photos are just gorgeous too!

  3. や、やばいっ!寝る前だっていうのに、すっかり写真とレシピに見入ってしまってお腹がすきました・・・。美味しそうなスープ!!リーク大好きです。特にスープとかBaked goods内にとろっと入ってるやつとか。あー美味しそう。そしてこのたくさんのブルーべりー入りのcobblerたまりません・・・。ご近所だったら、きっと私毎日お邪魔してます。お食事とカメラのお勉強をしに(笑)。

    • なみさん、ご近所だったら、日本語いっぱいしゃべりたいなあ!野菜も食べてもらえるのにー!いつもコメントありがとう:)

  4. I can’t wait to try the blueberry cobbler….when I saw the goboroot, I thought to myself ‘susrely this has to be japanese” Lol, sure enough. I remember as a child growing up in Okinawa, my mother often made gobo root simmered with little bit of sugar and that was my favorite dish. Thank you for offering this site, I will be sure to follow it as much as I can. I also have floral design in my back grown, I am retired now but I also love dogs and I have few….so I have to do my planting in container, where it’s safe from my dogs which is in my front yard I can plant in the ground. I live in Texas so I have to grow thing that are more native here,goya(bitter melon) which is also my favorite, ichiban egg plant,cucumbers and peppers. I do my best to keep them alive and I enjoy it so much. I’ts nice to find someone else that enjoy what I do. 🙂

    • Hi Rieko san, thank you for leaving a wonderful comment. I have been to Okinawa on a field trip while in high school and loved it very much. We tried to visit last time when we were in Japan but wasn’t the best season… It sounds like where you live right now has a similar climate to where you grew up? Our dogs drool for any vegetables because they’ve been eating since they were puppies, but so far, they haven’t grazed the garden yet. I look forward to hearing from you sometimes! Emi

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