A healthy, meatless, one pot meal stew with beans, barley, and veggies.
I recently got a new rice cooker. My old rice cooker was fine but it had a glass lid, which I dropped and it broke. That happens alot unfortunately. The kitchen in my apartment has a tile floor that breaks everything that's dropped on it and I am kind of dropsy (I drop things quite frequently). So anyway after shouting a string of obscenities I cleaned up the mess (luckily it was tempered glass so it broke into little cubes instead of sharp shards). I had to cook rice the 'old fashioned' way (on the stove top) for a couple of weeks before my husband brought home a new rice cooker. This new rice cooker is super fancy. It has different options for cooking white or brown rice, it has a timer, and it also works as a slow cooker. It's huge too, I can cook like 10 cups of rice at a time if I wanted too. For this recipe I used the slow cooker option.
My husband was out of town, for work, again so I wanted to make a meal that would last for the week. I also didn't want to have a bunch of dirty dishes so this was cooked completely in the rice cooker. When my husband isn't around I tend to eat more meatless meals. I like meat just fine but vegetarian or meatless meals often are cheaper and easier. For this stew, I initially started out trying to make a soup. I was just planning on having a bean soup but I saw a package of hulled barley and at the last minute decided to throw it in. It was a great idea making this much more filling and nutritious.
Bean and Barley Stew
1-2 Tbsp butter or oil
1 onion, chopped
5 stalks of celery, chopped
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
1 jalapeno, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 14.4 oz can of stewed tomatoes, crushed
3/4 cup barley (dry)
3-4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
2 cups small red beans, cooked
1 tsp dried thyme
2 bay leaves
a dash of marjoram
a dash of rosemary
salt and pepper to taste
Turn the rice cooker's slow cooker feature to high (this could all be cooked on the stove top, probably in less time). Melt the butter in the bottom or the insert. Once the butter is melted add the onion, celery, and carrots (with salt and pepper). Cook on high, uncovered, for about 15 minutes until softened.
Add jalapeno and garlic for a few minutes then add the dried barley. Stir the barley with the vegetables and butter then add the 2-3 cups of chicken broth and spices.
Turn the rice cooker/slow cooker to low, cover and allow to cook for 3 hours until barley is cooked.
Lastly stir in the beans (add more broth if needed) and let cook for 1 hour more until beans are heated through. Add more salt and pepper to taste and serve.
Makes about 6 servings, serve with rolls or crackers.
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