Monday, January 27, 2014

On My Hearth: Vegetable Barley Soup

Well, as Kristyn mentioned in her fabulous guest post (thank you, sweetie!), my computer had a run-in with a cup of coffee, thanks to a clumsy cat..grr...I was out of commission for a day but luckily found an old laptop of Chip's to tide me over til my new keyboard arrives. Whew!

I haven't done a whole lot of proper cooking this past week, have been kinda throwing stuff together based upon what we have in the house.  The post-holiday budget has been a bit tight, am sure many of you can relate, so I've kept my shopping to a minimum. No fancy ingredients or gourmet dinners, just basic good stuff.

I cleaned out my pantry and chose to focus on a few "mystery" items this week.  Here we have a package of elbow pasta, some barley, orzo, Jambalaya mix, yellow split peas and half a can of Chipotle in Adobo (from the fridge).  Now, I'm not suggesting that I toss all of these ingredients together (ewww!), just that I find or create some recipes using what I have on hand.  Sounds fun, right?! Yeah, I'm easily amused.

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First up: barley. This was actually an easy search, found a quick recipe for Vegetable Barley Soup which I adapted for the slow cooker.  This made a wonderful Sunday meal, perfect for a lazy day just hanging around the house.  I had almost everything on hand, just had to buy a zucchini which happened to be on sale this week.

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I'm sharing the original recipe; the only change I made was using my slow-cooker instead of stove top.  I put everything into the crock and cooked for about 6 hours on High Temp. You might need more or less time, check your veggies after about 4 hours to see if they're tender then adjust the temp accordingly. Oh, wait! I also did not include the Worcestershire since I was too lazy to run to the health food store for a vegan version.

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Beaker's Vegetable Barley Soup
Prep Time: 15 MinutesReady In: 1 Hour 45 Minutes
Submitted By:BEAKER1Cook Time: 1 Hour 30 MinutesServings: 8
"Easy to make and delicious. Vegetable broth, barley, and lots of veggies make this soup hearty and filling. I use and recommend organic products. Please add a review if you make it. Enjoy!"
2 quarts vegetable broth
1 cup uncooked barley
2 large carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes with
1 zucchini, chopped
1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans,
1 onion, chopped
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1.Pour the vegetable broth into a large pot. Add the barley, carrots, celery, tomatoes, zucchini, garbanzo beans, onion, and bay leaves. Season with garlic powder, sugar, salt, pepper, parsley, curry powder, paprika, and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 90 minutes. The soup will be very thick. You may adjust by adding more broth or less barley if desired. Remove bay leaves before serving.

The Verdict: I loved this recipe! It was so easy to make, and the flavors came together so nicely. While certainly not as spicy as I normally like my food, there is something to be said for a good, solid comforting bowl of soup. The barley added some thickness and created a heartier dish, and with a good hunk of bread for dunking this was a very healthy, filling meal. I'll definitely be making this one again. As for my hunny,he filled up on some other leftovers, didn't get around to trying it but I'm sure he will have a taste sometime this week. I'm making another slow cooker meal for tonight so I'd better get my buns into the kitchen!

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