• Italian Vegetable Barley Stew

Hi everyone!  My name is Kate, and this is my first guest post for Nouveau Potato.  Today I'm happy to share with you my recipe for Vegetable Barley Stew.  My inspiration for this recipe came from two sources that are close to my heart.  This stew is very similar to a wonderful stew my Italian grandmother used to make for us when I was growing up.  And I also took a recent trip to Tuscany with my husband and kids, during which I tried a barley soup that I adored.  After getting back home to Australia, I decided it was time to try making my own version.  I added a few slight modifications (taking out the meat, for one) and got some delicious results!

This Vegetable Barley Stew is comforting, hearty and full of flavour.  Most people (myself included) stay away from cooking stews because it can be quite time consuming.  But this stew's cooking time is relatively short, clocking in at 90 minutes (excluding prep time).  Compared to a 15-hour slow cooker stew, this is quite short indeed!

I love making this vegetable barley stew for my family because it's as healthy as it is tasty.  Barley is high in fiber and selenium, both which help promote low cholesterol.  And this particular Vegetable Barley Stew is packed with vegetables that contain high amounts of vitamins A, C and K.

Perfect for an overcast day or cosy night in, this vegetable barley stew definitely hits the spot.  I often double the recipe and make a big pot at the weekend.  And any leftovers are good for 4 days in the fridge or up to a month when frozen.

6 cups of potatoes, chopped into 1 inch cubes
2 cups of green beans
3 cups of kale, chopped
1 tin of crushed, stewed tomatoes
1/2 cup of celery, chopped
1 cup of pearl barley
1 large onion
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 L vegetable stock
250 ml water
juice of 1 lemon
olive oil
black pepper
crushed red pepper flakes

Put the water and vegetable stock into a large soup pot and bring to medium heat.  In a separate smaller pot, boil the chopped potatoes in water.  In a large skillet, sauté the garlic and onion in olive oil, but don't let them brown.  Add the pearl barley next, toasting it slightly as you would for risotto.  Then add the celery, green beans and kale in that order, giving everything a light sauté.

As the vegetables begin to soften, transfer all the contents of the skillet to the soup pot, then add the tomatoes.  Add the potatoes to the pot when they are soft and cooked through.  Then add salt, black pepper and crushed red pepper flakes to taste.  Simmer everything together for 90 minutes, stirring occasionally.  In the last 15 minutes, add the juice of one lemon.

To serve, garnish with a drizzle of olive oil, chopped fresh parsley or grated parmesan.  Enjoy!

Makes about 4 servings.

About the Author
Kate Bloomsbury works for Australia's exciting new home delivery service, Delivery Hero.  She lives in Australia with her husband and two young children and loves eggplant, vegetarian cooking and traveling.