With Winter on it’s way and Hurricane Sandy about to hit the East Coast I thought I’d post about a fabulous hearty soup I made.  This is a great recipe to have handy, because I usually always have all the ingredients on hand.  For this recipe, I found myself inspired in Trader Joe’s.  (Have you gotten your copy of the Cooking with Trader Joe’s Cookbook I contributed to?)  I love all the interesting and unique products they carry that all come with a little sense of humor.  I found myself with a package in my hands of “17 bean and barley mix”.  The bag had a picture of a man leading a cow and an old woman saying “Joe, this time if you sell the cow, don’t settle for less than 17 beans”.  It’s humorous little touches like this that make me want to shop there.  So I bought my bean mix and here is the soup I made.  If there is no Trader Joe’s close to you, you can easily sub out for a pound of your favorite beans.

17 Bean and Barley Soup

Serves 6-8

What you’ll need:

1 package (1 lb.) 17 beans and barley mix

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

1 large onion, diced

4 cloves of garlic, chopped

6 cups vegetable broth

1 tsp. dried oregano

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (more if you like a kick)

a handful of fresh parsley, chopped

salt and pepper to taste

What you’ll do:

If you have enough planning sense to soak the beans overnight than do so, or you can “quick soak” by combining the beans and 8 cups water in a pot and bring to a boil.  Lower heat to medium low so they are are simmering and let simmer for 2 minutes.  Remove the pot from the heat and let soak for an hour.  Drain.

In a large stock pot, saute the onions, garlic, and carrots for about 5 minutes in a couple tablespoons of olive oil with a pinch of salt.  When the carrots begin to feel tender add in the broth, (drained) beans, oregano, and cayenne.  Let simmer for a minimum of 20 minutes.

Serve warm topped with some freshly chopped parsly and some warm crusty bread.

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