Barley, Kale and Kidney Bean Stew

Barley, Kale and Kidney Bean Stew

I love the way barley tastes in soups. Barley is, in my opinion, a vegetarian’s best friend. It is filling and tasty and chewy enough to occupy your jaws. I prefer barley’s texture in a soup more than any other grain out there. I would say that I like barley’s chewiness more than meat’s, but I think a lot of people might disagree with me on that. That’s fine, I’m going to go on loving it in my way. And can you believe that this soup is the very first time I have tasted kale?! I know! The local Farmer’s Market has rad deals on huge bags of kale and arugula, so we’ve been getting a lot of it lately. First the arugula, which I love in frittatas, and now kale. This soup was amazing. Jake and I love chunky, chewy soups and this one fit the bill perfectly. This recipe is from a really great cookbook called “Vegetarian Planet” that is slowly becoming one of my favorites. I like to buy cookbooks that have pictures because that gives me an idea of what I’m shooting for. This one doesn’t have pictures, but I’ve never had a bad recipe from it so far. This was my third time cooking with barley. Every time I eat it I keep reminding myself that I need to cook with it more often. The first time I tried it was with this Potato Spinach Bake. Then I made a Beefy Bacon Vegetable Soup for Jake using barley, but since that had meat in it I obviously didn’t eat it except to taste-test during cooking. The really good soups using barley that I remember from my childhood were always beef stock and beef chunks, so although I figured it would work well with veggie stock I was still nervous. This was a dream come true, for my love of barley and for my beginning obsession with kale. I think kale chips are next on the agenda.

Barley, Kale and Kidney Bean Stew
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups sliced onions
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup pearled or hulled barley
1 teaspoon dried sage
1/2 teaspoon salt (or more, to taste)
10 cups veggie stock
1 large russet potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 cups 1/2-inch thick carrot rounds
1 small bunch kale
1 1/2 cups canned kidney beans
2 tablespoons lemon juice
black pepper, to taste
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

1. In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
2. Add the onions and garlic and cook 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Add the barley, sage, salt and 7 cups of the veggie stock.
4. Cover and bring to a boil. Then turn the heat to low.
5. Let the stew simmer 25 minutes.
6. Add the potato, carrots, and 2 more cups of veggie stock.
7. Cover the pot again and let the stew simmer 10 minutes more.
8. While the soup is simmering, cut the stem and inner stalk from the kale, or tear the leafy part away with your hands. It should make about 6 cups.
9. Add the kale to the soup along with a cup of water or stock.
10. Simmer 10 minutes more, adding more stock if the stew seems too dry.
11. Add the kidney beans, stir well, then add the lemon juice.
12. Taste the stew and adjust the salt and pepper seasonings according to your taste preference.
13. Ladle the stew into bowls and top with 1 teaspoon of olive oil and Parmesan cheese.

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3 thoughts on “Barley, Kale and Kidney Bean Stew

  1. I love kale and like to toss it into soups and things so my unsuspecting kids get a little extra nutrition;) This looks like a real veggie medley and so good for you! I love barley in soups as well!

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