Warm up with this healthy soup accompanied by decadent biscuits. Karen Schneider / For The Forecaster

This week I’m sharing one of my favorite soup recipes of all time. I’m never without the ingredients for it and make a pot at least once a month year-round. I slurp it down for lunch and when I need a quick supper. I keep extra stored in quart jars in the freezer just in case. And yes, I think everyone I know has had a bowl of this soup at least once, whether it was at my table or brought to them when they were feeling under the weather. I think it’s every bit as good as chicken soup when it comes to making a body feel better. The combination of the aromatic herbs and softened vegetables, along with protein and chewy barley tastes and feels fortifying.

Karen Schneider cooks and writes in the village of Cundy’s Harbor. You can reach her at [email protected]

I most often make the soup with ground turkey but sometimes forego the meat altogether and use a cup of lentils that have been soaked overnight instead. As with any soup, this is even better made ahead then reheated. That way, the flavors have time to mingle in the pot.

Cheddar Biscuits are a wonderful accompaniment to the soup if you want to transform a Simple Soup Night into a Delightful Dinner Party Night. These tender cheesy biscuits can be put together ahead of time and left in the refrigerator until baking time. Be sure the buttermilk, butter, egg and cheese are very cold when you mix them. You’ll need a rimmed sheet pan, too, as they are filled with butter. These biscuits are highly addictive so I’m really happy they’re so easy to make!

While the soup is heating and the biscuits are baking, you may be hungry for a little nibble. This Curry Dip is another of my mom’s recipes. It’s delicious served with fresh crudité and really lovely spooned over steamed vegetables. I had some on my broccoli just the other night and it was just right. Thin it with a teaspoon or two of milk if you want more of a sauce or if you want to pour it over a green salad.

Comfort Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 pound lean ground beef or turkey

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1 large yellow onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup cabbage, shredded

3 stalks celery, diced

3 carrots, diced

1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes

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1/4-1/3 cup pearl barley, rinsed

4 cups vegetable or chicken stock

1 cup water

2 teaspoons dried thyme

1 teaspoon dried marjoram

3 bay leaves

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Pinch of red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground pepper to taste

Warm oil in a stockpot over medium heat. Add meat, onion, garlic, celery, carrots, cabbage, breaking up meat with a spoon until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, until vegetables and barley are tender, about 1 hour. Yield: 6 servings

Cheddar Biscuits

2 cups flour, plus a bit more for mixing w/cheese and for rolling out biscuits

1 tablespoon baking powder

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1½ teaspoons salt

1½ sticks cold, unsalted butter, diced

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 extra large egg

1 cup grated cheddar cheese

1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water

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Flaky sea salt

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place 2 cups flour, baking powder, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer with a paddle attachment. With the mixer set on low, add butter and mix until the bits of butter are the size of peas.
Combine buttermilk and egg in a glass measuring cup and whisk lightly. With the mixer still on low, add the liquid to the flour and mix just until moistened. In a small bowl, mix the cheese with a pinch of flour and add to the dough with the mixer still on low until just combined.
On a well-floured board, knead the dough lightly six times. Roll the dough into a 5-by-10-inch rectangle. With a sharp, floured knife, cut the dough lengthwise in half and then across into quarters, making 8 rectangles. Transfer to a rimmed sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Brush the tops of the biscuits with the egg wash, sprinkle with sea salt, and bake 20-25 minutes until browned and cooked through. Yield: 8 biscuits

Spicy Dip

1 cup mayonnaise

2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

1/4- 1/2 teaspoon curry powder

1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon

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1/2 teaspoon thyme

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

2 tablespoons chili sauce

1 small onion, finely diced

Mix all ingredients together. Chill for several hours. Yield: 1¼ cups

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