Slow-cooker Bean and Barley Soup

  • Preparation Time10 mins
  • Cooking Time480 mins
  • Serves4
  • DifficultyEasy
200g dried mixed beans or Great Northern beans
1.4 L water
1 (400g) tin whole tomatoes, with juice
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 sticks celery, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
1/2 medium onion, chopped
60g pearl barley
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 tbsp salt, plus additional for seasoning
2 tsp dried Italian herb blend
Freshly ground black pepper
15g dried porcini mushrooms, optional
85g cleaned baby spinach leaves
80g freshly grated Parmesan
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Extra-virgin olive oil
1) Put the beans, water, tomatoes and their juices, garlic, celery, carrots, onion, barley, bay leaf, 1 1/2 tbsps salt, herb blend, pepper, and porcini mushrooms (if using) in a slow cooker; cover and cook on low until the beans are quite tender and the soup is thick, about eight hours.

2) Stir in the spinach, cheese, and vinegar, cover, and let the soup cook until the spinach wilts, about five minutes. Taste and season with salt and black pepper, to taste.

3) Ladle the soup into warmed bowls and drizzle each serving with olive oil.

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