Friday, January 6, 2012

17 bean & barley soup

A hearty, healthy and protein packed soup perfect for the low temps! 

17 bean & barley soup

Trader Joes' 17 Bean & Barley Mix - 2 cups
Vegetable stock - 4 cups 
Onion - 1, chopped, fine to medium
Garlic - 3 pods, chopped and crushed a bit
Tomato - 1/2 (I used 1/2 a tomato cos I ran out of tomatoes and later on added a tiny bit of tomato ketchup for the tang. It didn't harm my soup in anyway but for next time I'd go with 2 medium, RIPE tomatoes!)
Cinnamon - 2 sticks of 2" each
Bay leaves - 2, medium 
Fresh thyme - 1 bunch, about 5-6 sprigs (I added a "bunch" so it will be easier to remove later)
Tofu - 6-10, 2" cubes (you could use other methods to thicken the soup or you can skip this step if you prefer a clear soup!)
Salt to taste
Butter or EVOO - 3 tbsp

Cauliflower - 1 cup, tiny florets
Potato - 1 medium, chopped to small chunks
Capsicum - 1, chopped, fine to medium
Carrots and celery are some other options

Prepare the beans as per instructions on the bag. I soaked the beans overnight and rinsed it a few times and set it aside.

In a large stock pot, heat the oil/butter, add cinnamon, bay leaves followed by the garlic and onion. When the onions are done add the tomatoes, saute well and add all the vegetables. Add some salt and saute till the vegetables are a bit soft. Now add the stock and thyme followed by the bean mix. Mix well, cover and let it cook on medium heat for about 15 minutes. Check for salt and tang (I added the ketchup at this stage!) and cover and cook on low for another 15-20 minutes. It takes about 30 minutes for the beans to cook and absorb all the flavors. I also pulled out the cinnamon sticks out at this stage since I don't like a very strong taste of cinnamon. In a blender add the tofu chunks and about 4 tbsp of the boiling soup (just the liquid) and make a fine paste. Add about 2-3 tbsp of this paste, mix well and let it boil for a few more minutes. You can always add more paste if required later. Pull the bay leaves and the thyme bunch out, garnish with some cilantro and serve hot with some toasted bread!

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