Legendary Dishes | Bündner Bohne und Gerstensuppe (enriched barley soup)


Barley soups were once a daily stable of northern European traditional food. They were earthy – suffused with the aromas of herbs and spices, forest mushrooms, root vegetables, enriched with stock from the bones of pig and poultry. Krupnik, the Polish version, is the epitome of this type of barley soup – hearty and not too thick, whereas in the Swiss mountains the people made it an art-form. This is the version from the east of Switzerland, the canton of Grabünden, now cooked throughout the confederation.

  • 2.4 litres hock stock / water
  • 4 smoked pork sausages, chopped small
  • 250 g potatoes, chopped small
  • 250 g bacon / ham, cubed
  • 150 g cabbage, sliced
  • 150 g carrots, cubed
  • 1 leek, sliced
  • 100 g barley, soaked overnight
  • 100 g celeriac, chopped small
  • 100 g onion, sliced
  • 100 g white beans, soaked overnight
  • 50 g butter
  • 15 g sunflower oil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Chives, bunch, chopped
  • Pepper, large pinch
  • Salt, large pinch

Sweat cabbage, carrots, celeriac, leek and onions in butter and oil over a low heat, about 15 minutes. Add barley and beans, water, bay leaf and bacon or ham. Cook for three hours. Add potatoes and sausages after 150 minutes, cook for 30 minutes. Season, serve garnished with chives.