[The daily soup at Amber Waves from Nov. 5, 2010.]

About the soup – my husband suggested the two tomato part, he thought the sundried tomatoes would lend texture and depth to the canned ones. It works quite well, and along with the chewy barley (I don’t use pearled), it’s very satisfying. I added some spinach at the end, chopped up like parsley.

Two Tomato Soup with White Beans and Barley
serves 5-6

1 C navy or great northern or other white bean (or 2 15 oz. cans)
1 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, sliced
2 ribs celery, sliced
5-6 cloves garlic, chopped
2 T olive oil
1/2 C barley
1/4 C chopped sundried tomatoes, oil packed
1 15 oz. can crushed or diced tomatoes
2 t dried thyme
3 bay leaves
1-2 t salt (you decide)

Soak beans in water overnite, or do the quick method: bring beans and water (about 4 cups) to a boil, turn off heat and let sit for 1 hour, then cook till done, adding water as needed. I always put some salt in the water when cooking begins. Maybe a tsp. This method supposedly reduces the gassy effect. I dunno.

Saute onions, carrots and celery in olive oil 3-4 min., add garlic and saute 2-3 min. more. Add 2 cups water or vegetable stock, the salt and the barley. Cover pot and simmer for 30-40 min. or until barley is soft.

Add both tomatoes (you can put a couple of chopped fresh ones in here if you have some getting soft or spotty), the cooked beans and their water. The beans should be covered with water when done, if not, add some until they are. Add herbs, and simmer 15 min.

I like to put a little chopped baby spinach, or parsley, or chard in here, not too much, just for the delightful little flecks of green we need to see in winter.

If you’re not vegan, a bit of grated parmesan is nice in this soup.