Creamy Bündner Gerstensuppe will keep you warm on cold winter nights

barley soup

ONE OF my favourite Swiss cookbooks, not only for the delicious and largely easy-to-make recipes, but also for its beautiful photographs of Swiss scenes, landscapes and traditional architecture (it would qualify as a lovely coffee table book) is Manuela Darling-Gansser’s book Winter in the Alps, Food by the Fireside.

At this time of year I often make my slightly altered version of her Bünder Gerstensuppe when a hearty bowl of soup is just what I need to warm myself up on chilly days or evenings. I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I do.


Bündner Gerstensuppe (Pearl Barley Soup)

Serves 4 to 6 people

1 onion finely chopped
2 trimmed leeks, washed & finely chopped
2 medium carrots, finely diced
2 celery stalks, finely diced
1/2 small celeriac, peeled and finely diced
2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced (I like “Celtiane” potatoes from Co-Op)
1 fresh bay leaf
150g (5oz) smoked speck or bacon, diced (I prefer Co-Op Natura Farm speck, rind removed)
2 litres (3 pints / 8fl oz) chicken or vegetable stock
100g (3.5 oz) pearl barley
200ml /7 fl oz) 25% cream
20g (3/4 oz) unsalted butter
2 Tbsps virgin olive oil
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Heat the butter and oil in a pan. Add the onion and leek and fry gently on low heat for 10-15 minutes. Then add the carrots, celery, celeriac, bay leaf and speck/bacon and continue frying on medium heat for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the stock, barley and potatoes and simmer gently for about 1 hour. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and add the cream. Put back on a gentle heat for 10-15 minutes to thicken. Serve and enjoy!

3 responses to “Creamy Bündner Gerstensuppe will keep you warm on cold winter nights”

    • Hi there, I’ve added a link to the book title Winter in the Alps so you can scan through part of the book online. The original recipe is on page 86 where you can see a photo as well as the recipe though it’s a bit fuzzy (you have to increase the text size in your browser to read it). Hope that help. BTW, pearl barley soup is just the English translation of gerstensuppe, which you probably already know…

      Liked by 1 person

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