Barley Minestrone with Canadian Bacon, Savoy Cabbage, and Rosemary
posted by Kalyn Denny on April 4, 2011
If you wake up with snow on the ground in April, this Barley Minestrone can help.
I realize there are people who actually like snow, but let me make it 100% clear that I will never be one of them. Every year when the weather starts to feel like spring I brace myself, because this is Utah and I know there will still be a few more snowstorms before hot weather comes. Today when I woke up and saw about 4 inches of snow on the roof of my new shed, I was not happy. But then I remembered this soup recipe.
If you’ve been reading the blog for long, you’ve probably heard me rave about how much I like the recipes from Fine Cooking, and the idea of minestrone with barley seemed like pure genius to me. I used Canadian Bacon instead of pancetta and reduced the oil a little to make the recipe more South Beach Diet friendly, and other than that I almost followed the recipe. Even a re-discovered soup recipe can’t really make up for snow in April, but this soup was tasty and comforting as I watched more snow coming down.
Finely dice enough Canadian Bacon to make about 1/2 cup. (Or if you don’t care about the saturated fat, you can use a slightly smaller amount of pancetta or regular bacon.)
Heat olive oil in a heavy soup pot and saute the Canadian Bacon just until it starts to crisp, about 3-4 minutes.
Savoy cabbage is really good in this soup, but if you can’t find it you can use regular green cabbage.
While the Canadian Bacon cooks, dice the Savoy Cabbage, onion, and celery, and slice the carrots.
Add a little more oil if needed and saute the vegetables with some minced garlic until the vegetables are starting to get soft, about 5-6 minutes.
While the vegetables cook, rinse the barley in a fine strainer, cut a small wedge of Parmesan rind, and cut a short sprig of rosemary. (The Parmesan rind and rosemary are probably optional, but they add a lot of flavor to the soup.)
When vegetables are starting to soften, add chicken stock, water, diced tomatoes and juice, barley, Parmesan rind, rosemary, and a tiny bit of salt. Let the soup cook at a low simmer until the barley is soft, about 30-40 minutes.
When the barley is soft, remove the Parmesan rind and rosemary and discard. Add 1 can rinsed red kidney beans, season soup with salt and pepper, and simmer 5-10 minutes more. Serve hot, with freshly grated Parmesan cheese for people to add to their soup.
1 T olive oil (plus a little more if needed to saute vegetables)
1/2 cup very finely diced Canadian Bacon (or use a smaller amount of diced pancetta or bacon)
2 cups coarsely diced cabbage (savoy cabbage is best, but regular green cabbage will work)
1 cup finely diced yellow onion
1 cup sliced carrots (use small carrots, or cut slices in half)
1/4 cup finely diced celery
1 tsp. minced garlic
8 C chicken stock, plus a little more if needed (I used homemade chicken stock, but you can use canned chicken broth)
1 cup water
1 can (14.5 oz.) petite diced tomatoes with juice
1/2 cup pearl barley, rinsed (thanks to Karina for the suggestion to use quinoa for gluten-free version)
1 sprig fresh rosemary (probably optional, but adds a lot of flavor)
small piece of Parmesan rind (probably optional, but adds a lot of flavor)
1 can (15 oz.) red kidney beans, rinsed
salt and pepper to taste
freshly grated Parmesan cheese for serving
Finely chop enough Canadian Bacon to make 1/2 cup (or use a slightly smaller amount of pancetta or regular bacon if you don’t care about the saturated fat.) Heat 1 T olive oil in heavy soup pot, add Canadian Bacon and saute over medium heat until it just starts to crisp, about 3-4 minutes.
While Canadian Bacon cooks, chop the cabbage, onions, celery, and slice the carrots. (If you’re not a fast chopper, you might want to do that before you start to cook the bacon.) When Canadian Bacon is starting to crisp, add the vegetables and minced garlic to the soup pot and saute for 5-6 minutes or until vegetables are starting to soften. You may need to add a little more olive oil, depending on your pan.
While vegetables are cooking, rinse the barley, cut a chunk of Parmesan rind, and cut a small sprig of rosemary. When vegetables are partially soft, add chicken stock, water, diced tomatoes with juice, barley, rosemary sprig, Parmesan rind, and about 1/2 tsp. of salt. Let the soup cook at a low simmer until the barley is soft, about 30-40 minutes. (I like the barley to be fairly soft, but taste to see when it seems done enough to you.)
While soup simmers, put 1 can red kidney beans into a colander placed in the sink and rinse with cold water until no more foam appears. When the barley is done, remove the Parmesan rind and rosemary and discard. (If the soup seems too thick, you can add a little more chicken stock at this point.) Add kidney beans, season soup to taste with salt and fresh ground black pepper, and simmer 5-10 minutes more. Serve hot, with freshly grated Parmesan cheese for each person to add to their soup. This soup freezes well if you can manage to have any left.
Minestrone is a traditional Italian soup made from whatever vegetables were left in the fridge. Other things you could add or substitute in this recipe include green beans, zucchini, yellow squash, kale, or swiss chard. You can also use small pasta instead of the barley.