After the delicious chana masala, our next long distance kitchen recipe was for Annie’s Cannellini and Pearl Barley Soup.  Here’s where we start veganizing recipes, sadly leaving out the suggested sausage and parmesan.  I made a few other minor changes, which I’ll note along the way.

You start out by heating some oil (Bronwen and I are not fasting from olive oil) and sauteing some leeks, carrots and celery with the herbs – thyme, oregano, sage, and parsley.  I used dried thyme, sage and oregano along with some fresh parsley that I had leftover from minestrone.  I used two smallish carrots instead of one large, and I think I might up the carrot content next time I make this.

Instead of throwing everything in the slow cooker at this point, I kept it on the stove over low heat – my crockpot is one of the small ones, and I didn’t think everything would fit.  So I just threw the beans, barley and vegetable stock (I used a Rapunzel brand bouillon – I’m always happy with their flavor) into the stockpot and let everything simmer until the barley was tender. I meant to time the whole thing, for future reference, but I would guess it was in the neighborhood of 45-60 minutes of simmering.  I’ve never cooked with barley before, and I wasn’t exactly sure how chewy it should end up.  I liked a little chewiness when I taste-tested it, but of course the leftovers were a little softer, so I think it worked out.

I accidentally left out the red pepper flakes, and I’m not too sad about it – if the soup had sausage, as Annie suggests, I think the red pepper would be a nice complement, but without sausage it’s more of a comfort food soup – not bland, but no single assertive flavor.  Satisfying and yummy.  I’ll definitely add this to my list of soups to make again.

Bronwen’s take on it can be read here.  She’s always ahead of me on the recipes, confound it.