Barley and Bean Boost Stew

Barley and Bean Boost Stew

This recipe is vegetarian friendly, but if you’re a meatitarian feel free to add in some nice chunks of beef. If you live with a vegetarian then do what Jake did and fry up some bacon to crumble on top of your bowl. This stew will pack a protein punch (hence the “boost” in its title), but there are a LOT of beany things in it. The baking soda will cut some of that down, but there will inevitably be issues still. You’ve been warned. This is also a chance to get your crockpot out and leave the house for the rest of the day. Come on…you know you’ve been waiting for this. Or maybe just go into the living room with a pot of tea and a good book, curl up in a blanket and don’t come out till this is finished.

Because of this recipe I have to say a word about something I feel conflicted about: bean soup mixes, specifically dry bean soup mixes. Honestly, I think they’re kind of a load of crap. And I think that because I always think that I could do the bean mixin’ myself, so why should I pay extra because someone’s gone through and mixed it for me? It’s not even that hard. The catch is this: I never DO make my own bean mix. I never have. I think the reason for this is because I have to plan ahead to do that, as dry beans need soaking, and I am not the greatest at planning THAT far ahead. However, if you use a crockpot dry beans become easy as pie. I bought the described mix below at a food store, but I could easily make it on my own. Try the mix below and then alter it to include the beans or grains you love most or increase the amount of whatever is most tasty to you. Really, it’s whatever you want. This mix is a dry mix, so all the beans and grains are dry, not hydrated when you put them into the crockpot. Don’t worry. Everything will be fine. You need a large crockpot for this recipe. This is going to make a ton of soup. You’ll be able to take the leftovers with crusty bread to work for lunch for the rest of the week. Enjoy!

Barley and Bean Boost Stew
for the bean mix:
1/4 cup each of:
red lentils
split green peas
yellow lentils
brown lentils
1/2 cup each of:
pinto beans
black beans
kidney beans
lima beans
1 cup barley

for the rest of the soup:
1 medium onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 red potatoes, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
1 cup green beans (frozen or fresh), cut into 1-inch sections
10 cups veggie broth, or other broth
1 teaspoon baking soda
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon parsley
1 teaspoon rosemary
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon marjoram
1/2 teaspoon sage
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon paprika

to garnish:
fresh herbs, your choice, optional
grated cheese, your choice, optional

1. In a large crock pot, combine all the soup ingredients with the bean mix, stirring a couple of times to combine well.
2. Turn the crockpot to medium heat and let the soup stew till the veggies and beans are tender. Depending on how hot your crockpot heats this could take from 4-6 hours. If you can, check when you hit the 4 hour mark and decide from there. If you want a longer cooking time put the crockpot on low.
3. Serve with crusty bread and big soup spoons. You can also sprinkle with fresh herbs or grated cheese if you feel inclined.

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