I am seriously tired. I got a little carried away last night reworking the blog and stayed up until about 3AM. And then I got up early to help lug around 10 month old twins. In other words, today's recipe was perfectly timed. I picked up some leeks yesterday thinking they would make a nice soup along with the cannellini beans I had recently purchased. Searching the net, I came across a promising recipe at The Kitchen Mirror. I left out the parsley, kicked up the herbs, increased the the veggie content, and used all broth. I really ended up enjoying the soup, as it was filling and hearty. My only issue was that the barley soaked up way too much of the broth and we ended up having to add some after the fact. If you aren't as tired as I was, you could always take the time to cook the barley separately to avoid this problem. Or you could just add another 3 cups of liquid like I did. Seriously, when you can basically throw everything in a slow cooker, why do the extra work?
2 Tbs. olive oil
2 large carrot, chopped (or 2 handfuls of baby carrots)
3 small leeks, whites and light greens, sliced in rounds
3 stalks celery, chopped
1.5 tsp. dried thyme leaves
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. dried sage
1 1/2 cups cooked cannellini beans
1/2 cup uncooked dry pearl barley
8 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1. Heat the olive oil in a large pan and leave in a little pool. When warm, add the oregano and thyme to the pool, allowing the olive oil to take on the flavor of the herbs for a few minutes.
2. Add leeks, carrots and celery until the leeks become tender. Add the sage and cook for another 30 seconds. Place in the pot of a 5 quart slow cooker.
3. Add barley, beans, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and stock to the pot.
4. Cook on medium for 4-5 hours, until vegetables are tender and barley has cooked through.
I personally think this soup would be great with some shredded chicken or sausage. My brother suggested shrimp, but I'm a bit unsure.