In der Küche mit David

Recently, we had a truly wonderful visit with our friend Nancy from Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

I met Nancy in the year 2000 when I worked at The Children's Museum of Portsmouth. She worked for the local credit union, and they were the sponsor for the museum's 5K Fun Run for kids.

Nancy and I bonded immediately. Within minutes, I felt as though I was sitting with a friend I’d known forever.

At first it we talked about food. Then about our mutual experiences living in Germany (very close to one another and at about the same time!). Then we tested our lingual prowess with one another. And then, it was back to food - German pastries, hearty stews and such. In the end, doesn’t it always come back to food?

When Nancy decided to come for her first visit to Tucson, I started to think about what we could serve to her. She was arriving in the evening after a long day of travel, so I decided that soup would be the perfect comforting welcome dish for her.And something Deutsch would be great fun for her.

Coincidentally that day, I was reading my weekly email from Saveur Magazine and they featured a hearty German soup with barley and sausages called Graupensuppe. I knew immediately that Nancy would love it.

I didn't make too many changes to the original, but did use a different sausage than it called for, and I opted for the richness of chicken stock over vegetable stock. I happened have some Weißwurst on hand, so I substituted it for the Bockwurst that was called for.

This switch from Bockwurst to Weißwurst didn't cause any suffering for anyone. The soup was pretty perfect as it was. In fact, I happen to be craving some for this evening. The weather has turned cold here - unusually cold for Tucson; there is a fire in the fireplace, and all that is missing is bowl of hearty soup.

Graupensuppe. That's the ticket!

Guten Appetit!

~ David


4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1 cup pearl barley
8 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1/2 cup finely chopped peeled russet potato
1/2 cup finely chopped carrot
1/2 cup finely chopped celery root
1/2 cup finely chopped leek
2 tablespoons fresh marjoram or 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
2 German sausages, like Bockwurst or Bratwurst (Weißwurst)
3 thick slices bacon
Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup thinly sliced flat‐leaf parsley leaves

Heat butter in a 6‐quart saucepan over medium‐high heat; add onion and cook, stirring, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add barley and cook, stirring, until lightly toasted, about 5 minutes. Add stock, potato, carrot, celery root, leek, marjoram, sausages, and bacon, and cook, stirring occasionally, until sausages are tender, about 35 minutes. Remove sausages and bacon from saucepan, thinly slice sausages, and discard bacon. Season soup with nutmeg, salt, and pepper.

To serve, ladle soup into 8 serving bowls, and garnish with parsley and sliced sausage.

Serves 6-8.


  1. I used to eat barley and tomato soup as a kid, and still find it quite amazing. Never thought of adding sausage, but a good hearty soup is perfect for winter (which we are definitely NOT in the middle of right now being 98º). But I have an unopened bag of barley from a pilaf I made, so this is going to my recipes to try board. Are you enjoying the cold weather? It it nice sometimes. Have a great week David!

  2. Karin - ausgezeichnet is one of my favorite German words - and I even tried to fit it into the story. Thanks for helping with that! And, yes, it is YUM!

  3. Paula - I actually thought of you and my other Southern Hemisphere friends when I posted this, wondering if you might want to shelve it for a cooler season! It is worth the wait!

    On another note, I will soon be making your pandoro recipe, as my new mold arrives tomorrow.

  4. Isn't it amazing when you first meet someone and hit it off from the beginning? And how fitting that you knocked up a gorgeous German soup; one I'll be trying as soon as it cools a little here!

  5. I will look for the sausage and make this soup soon--any ideas for a good German sausage source in this neck of the woods? Just to make sure, the bacon is placed in the pot, whole and uncooked..right? It has warmed up here, so I have time to gather the ingredients and wait for a cold day...not long, I am sure!

  6. John - I really am glad for you all Down Under that you are getting warmer temperatures than we are! It is freezing here!

    Susan - I guess for starters, I would try Carl
    s in Kittery. I know it is a pain without the bridge, but they freeze well! And, yes, the bacon goes in uncooked and gets fished out. Very flavorful!

  7. This looks like a good soup for cold days... Snow on the ground here in England today so I think I'm going to make something similar tonight.

  8. There is nothing like a hearty bowl of soup when there is a layer (even if a thin layer) of snow on the ground. And I have never been as cold or in need of said soup than the Christmas holiday I spent in London! Stay warm, Ruth!

  9. This is on my winter eating list!
    I love that you inspire me for meals that I can make in future.
    Can I also just add that you have managed to take probably the most beautiful picture of an onion I have ever seen....

  10. Anna - I love how you inspire me for future summer cooking (that Peach Ginger Pie sounds amazing) - truly one of the great advantages of having blog friends in another hemisphere! And thanks for the onion photo comment - It is hard to make those things look exciting, isn't it?

  11. This looks so warming and comforting... and I love the reflected in the back of the spoon. As always love your photos.

  12. Ahu - until your comment I hadn't even noticed the reflection of me and my camera in the spoon!

  13. A month later, we have everything--well, I just saw my barley jar is empty so we will find a worthy substitute--and are about to make this soup. It looks perfect for the blizzard that blows the snow outside!

  14. Stay warm! A good bowl of soup is just the thing! And I think some petit épautre would make a great barley substitute!


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