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Stone Soup

In the old story of “Stone Soup,” soldiers seeking refuge in a village are denied food by the suspicious residents, until they begin to make a pot of “soup” from stones. The curious villagers can’t resist adding bits and pieces from their own stores to make the soup better; at the end, everyone is able to feast on a shared meal that was accomplished by each person sharing what they had to give. This stone soup is based on the ingredients named in the story – carrots, onion, potatoes, milk, and barley – but can be adapted, as we’ve noted, to use whatever you’ve got!


2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium onion, diced
3 cups sliced carrots OR another root vegetable, such as parsnips or turnips.
2 cups diced peeled waxy potato (such as Yukon Gold) OR another starchy vegetable, such as sweet potato
4 cups water
4 cups stock of any variety – turkey, beef, chicken, or vegetable will all work fine
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 1/2 tsp. dried basil OR dried thyme, Italian seasoning, or rosemary
6 cups roughly chopped leafy greens, such as kale OR chard, cabbage, or spinach
1 cup pearled barley OR another hearty grain, such as bulgur wheat, cous cous, brown rice, or short pasta shapes
1 1/2 cups milk


1. Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and cook for 5 minutes, until translucent.
2. Add the carrots, potatoes, water, and stock. Stir, bring to a boil, and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 10 minutes.
3. Add the salt, pepper, and basil. Stir well.
4. Add the greens and the barley (or other grain) to the pot. Cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes, until the grains have cooked, the greens are wilted, and the vegetables are very tender.
5. Stir in the milk and heat for a few more minutes before serving.