Friday, 29 April 2011

Slow Cooker Bean Barley Soup

Yesterday I made a batch of soup in my slow cooker (which is my favourite appliance next to my mixer!) and I really liked it! Thought some of you might too. Girl1 is not a soup fan and broth-y soups seem to be worse for her. Sometimes I can get her to eat a bit of a creamy/blended soup like the Sweet Potato Apple Ginger Soup I posted on my FB but this soup was a no-go. The other 3 however, ate it happily with a piece of toast/pita bread to dip in.

I was so glad to have this soup today since three out of four kids have been throwing up and feverish. It was nice not to have to worry about a meal for myself and the healthy Boy2 (although he hasn't been eating too much today so I think he's not feeling 100% either.)

The soup has barley - which has gluten but from what I read, a different type of gluten than wheat - but both my food testing and B2's showed we were okay with it. So I'm glad to have another grain to eat. The recipe didn't call for squash, but I still had some leftover from my risotto recipe and it made a really nice addition, adding a subtle sweetness that appeals to the kids. Also, I didn't have any celery and the soup was fine without it! Oh and if you're making soup for kids, dice everything small enough so they can fit it onto small spoons and into their mouths easily. I find that cubing everything in a 1cm dice works well.

Slow Cooker Bean Barley Soup
Adapted from 300 slow cookers favourites - Donna-Marie Pye

1 can beans in tomato sauce (or plain navy beans, rinsed plus 1 can tomato paste)
2 potatoes, peeled and finely diced
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1 leek, finely chopped
2 carrots, finely diced
1-2 c butternut squash, peeled and diced
4 c vegetable (or beef) stock
2 c water
1/2 c pot barley, rinsed
1 bay leaf
pinch nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste

In the slow cooker stoneware, combine all ingredients except for salt and pepper.

Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 4-6 hours, until vegetables are tender and soup is bubbling.
Remove bay leaf, season and serve.

Make Ahead - This can be assembled the night before. Follow the preparation directions and refrigerate overnight in the stoneware. The next day, place stoneware in cooker and cook as directed.

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