We didn't get a lot of snow last weekend, but enough to assemble a snow duck and enough to inspire a hearty winter soup.
I'd been wanting to try a barley and bean soup with our supplies from our Lonesome Whistle Farm CSA (heirloom purple barley and Vermont cranberry beans). I had a frozen ham bone and a cabbage from our Open Oak Farm CSA that I knew from experience would cook down into a rich broth.
I love the deep, smooth flavors of a slow cooked soup, but I thought it would be nice to contrast it with some bright, fresh greens. So to finish the soup, I sauteed some lacinato kale in olive oil with plenty of garlic and used this as a soup garnish with a light dusting of parmesan cheese, like our recent snowfall.
Barley and Cranberry Bean Soup with Kale
1 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup hulled barley
1 small onion, chopped
1 15 ounce can chopped tomatoes
8 cups water
1 small or 1/2 regular cabbage, chopped
1 ham bone or ham hock
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
4 celery stalks, trimmed and chopped
1 cup cranberry beans
salt to taste
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
8 leaves lacinato kale
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 Tbsp olive oil
freshly grated parmesan cheese for serving
1. Heat a Dutch oven or heavy soup pot over medium heat. Melt the butter and saute the barley grains for a couple of minutes until fragrant. Add the onion and saute until very soft. Add the chopped tomatoes and a generous pinch of salt and saute for about five minutes. Add the water, cabbage, and ham bone. Bring to a boil and then simmer on very low, mostly covered, for about 2 hours.
2. Add the carrots, celery, and cranberry beans. Continue simmering on very low for another 2 hours. You could also cook the soup in a slow cooker on low for a total of about 6 hours, adding the carrots, celery, and beans after the first 2 hours.
3. When the beans and barley are soft but not mushy, finish the soup. Remove the ham bone or ham hock, shred the meat from the bone, and return the meat to the pot. Taste and add more salt as needed. Finish the soup with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar (about 1 Tbsp).
4. Shortly before serving the soup, prepare the garlicy kale topping. Cut the kale leaves from the center stem and slice them into 1/2 inch ribbons. Heat the olive oil in a saute pan and when it is hot, add the minced garlic. Saute for about one minute and then add the kale and a pinch of salt. Saute until the kale is just wilted, about five minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
5. Serve the hot soup with a generous spoonful of sauteed kale on top and a sprinkle of grated parmesan cheese.
Other recipes for locally grown beans
Cranberry Beans and Collard Greens
Paprkia Chickpea, Delicata and Kale Salad