Beet, Bean and Barley Soup

Garden goods are coming in faster than I can cook them.  In tandem with this, my Mother gifted us with some gorgeous appaloosa heirloom beans.  What better way to enjoy it all on a cool and rainy day than by making soup!  Between the vegetables, legumes and barley – it’s a complete meal when served alongside a thick slice of toasted sourdough.  And should heirloom beans be lacking, worry not: kidney or cannellini beans make a perfect substitute.

Yield: 13 cups

What you need:

  • 1 cup dry heirloom beans (or kidney beans, or cannellini beans)
  • 1 piece kombu seaweed (optional)
  • 5 bay leaves (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower or olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon caraway seed
  • 1/4 teaspoon anise seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon dill seed
  • 1 large onion, cut into 1/2″ dice
  • 1 large clove garlic, pressed or minced
  • 1/2 cup pot barley
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 6 cups unsalted vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 lb beets, cut into 3/4″ dice, 3 cups
  • 3/4 lb cabbage, shredded, 4 cups
  • 1 large sprig each of fresh thyme, rosemary and sage
  • 3 teaspoons sea salt

What you do:

  1. Soak the beans overnight in plenty of water to cover.
  2. Drain the beans.  Add them to a pot with more fresh water to cover by an inch or two.  If using, add the kombu and bay leaves.
  3. Bring to a boil and then cover and reduce the heat. Simmer on stove-top until beans are very tender, 45-50 minutes or more.  You could also pressure cook the beans for 12-15 minutes and allow a natural pressure release.
  4. When cooked, remove the seaweed and bay if using and drain the beans. Set aside.
  5. In a large Dutch oven or soup pot, heat the oil over medium flame.  When hot add the caraway, anise and dill seeds and toss them around once or twice letting them sizzle.  Add the onions garlic and pot barley.  Stir and fry for 8-10 minutes until the onions are golden and the pot barley toasted.  Turn down the heat as necessary to prevent scorching.
  6. Add the paprika and stir to mix throughout.  Deglaze the pot with a cup or two of the broth scraping the bottom well to get all the roasty and toasty bits.
  7. Add the rest of the broth, water, fresh thyme, rosemary, sage and mix.  Add the cabbage and beets and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer until the beets and cabbage are tender and the barley cooked.
  8. Uncover, mix in the salt and cooked beans.  Cover again, let simmer another 5 minutes and then turn off the heat.  Let sit covered 10 minutes or so before serving.

 

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