Most anything I make is based on availability and craving. The other day soup sounded really good so I threw a bunch of stuff we had on hand into a pot and called it stew. A delicious and hearty vegan-y stew!
I had frozen some leftover vegetable stock in its container before we left for Denver because I made one of those recipes that just calls for 2-4 tablespoons of broth. Really?
The other special thing about this recipe is it starts off as a soup but evolves into a stew, thanks to the pearled barley. I bought some pearled barley a few months ago and have been at a loss for what and how to use it. I see on instagram some use it in replacement of rice. The one time I cooked it by itself, I was unimpressed and the bag has sat in the pantry ever since. Soup provides a great solution for transporting almost any grain out of your pantry. I may even buy it again because it was delicious in this soup!
Make use of the bounty of produce available at your farmer’s markets to create a ‘local’ variation of this. I’ve seen a lot of zucchini and carrots teeming the tables at Portland’s PSU farmer’s market.
Jeremy took notice that something yummy in this reminded him of meat – in the texture sense – we finally deduced that it was the plumped up sun-dried tomatoes.
One of the other special ingredients in this is a black lager. I threw in the lager last minute because we had it and I thought it would be interesting. The lager provided a great back drop to the stew’s depth of flavor without overwhelming the whole pot. Perfect. Stuff like this will happen when you take a look in the fridge for that one other ingredient you could add. I remember years ago making Guinness cakes and Guinness stew so why not a lager stew? I think a dark stout would also work. Let us know what local brews you used.
I made this on Saturday and we just finished up the last bowls for lunch today. This stew will only graduate in flavor as the days go on. Feel free to freeze it if you don’t want to eat stew constantly for a few days. If you use ball jars, make sure you leave about an 1″ of space at the top to avoid a broken jar and wasted soup – in your freezer.
Have you tried pearled barley? and how do you like using it? I need some schooling!