While I was restocking my kitchen to start out the new semester (& btw, MY LAST SEMESTER of college!!! eeek!!!), I stumbled across this package of 17 bean and barley soup at Trader Joes. A friend of mine had made soup from a similar product in the past, so I thought I'd give it a try. I very loosely followed the recipe on the back of the package (I added and substituted a few things), and here's how it turned out!
Trader Joes's 17 Bean and Barley Soup
This product is great because it is inexpensive, (if I recall correctly, the package of beans/barley costs less than $2) healthy, and can very easily be converted to a vegetarian/vegan recipe if the chicken broth is taken out. For the record, the recipe on the package does not feature chicken broth, but I added it because I think the flavor is stronger than vegetable broth.
2 Cups of bean/barley mix
1 medium onion (I used a yellow onion)
4 stalks of celery
2 large carrots
1 red bell pepper
32 oz chicken broth
32 oz vegetable broth
2 cloves of garlic
1 large bay leaf (or two small)
1 can of diced tomatoes
The first thing you need to do is soak the beans/barley mix. Measure out two cups, put it into the pot you'll be cooking it in, and cover with water. I soaked them overnight, but there is a quick-soak method outlined on the back of the package if you don't have the time.
Next, you drain and rinse out the beans and pour the entire 32 oz of chicken broth on top. Set this aside, mince the garlic, and chop the onion, celery, carrots, and pepper. I chopped my veggies into fairly small pieces.. for some reason I wanted them to be "bean-sized" to match the beans in the mix (hah!)
|remind me to thank my brother for the AMAZING knife he gave me for xmas|
Put some olive oil into a large pan and set it over medium/high heat. When the oil is hot, drop the veggies into the pan and cook them until the onions are translucent and the carrots are softened. Now is a great time to garlic-salt and pepper liberally. When the veggies are about halfway done, add the minced garlic.
When the veggies are soft, scoop them out of the pan and put them into the bean/broth pot and add the canned tomatoes. My pot ended up being too small so I had to split the soup between two pots!
Top the soup with the remaining 32 oz of veggie broth, drop in the bay leaf, and bring to a boil. When the soup comes to a boil, lower the heat to simmer and let it simmer for at least an hour. I let mine simmer for one hour covered, and another 30 minutes uncovered.
Salt and pepper the soup to taste, and when the beans are tender and the flavor is strong, serve it up!
I loved this recipe because it was hearty and satisfying, but healthy! It also made a lot of soup... I had enough to send some home with a friend and save some for during the week! Horrah!
My rating out of 10?
Because it takes a pretty long time to make, but it tastes SSOOOO good, it deserves a 9! I would recommend you make it on a weekend... if you've got a busy schedule during the week, this might be hard to manage.
try it for yourself- let me know how it goes!