1 large onion, peeled and diced
2-4 cloves garlic, minced
generous swirl of extra virgin olive oil
2 bay leaves
3/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried sage leaves, rubbed into bits
6-8 potatoes, well scrubbed
3 large carrots, scrubbed
1/2 head of celery, leaves and all, washed
1 small cabbage, cored and quartered
1 large can of cannelloni or great northern beans
handful of quick cooking barley
2 tablespoons dried parsley
salt and pepper to taste
All ingredients are better if they're organic.
In a large stock pot, swirl olive oil and add onion, garlic and herbs. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, while you chop up the other vegetables into "stew-sized" chunks. Add the veggies except the cabbage to the onions, turn the heat up a bit, stir and go away. Stir veggies about once every 10 minutes or so until they all look softened, start coloring and stick to the bottom of the pan (about 30-40 minutes.
Add the barley and enough water to cover & look "soupy". Place the cabbage on top of the water. Heat to boiling, and turn down to a simmer for 45 minutes.
Test the cabbage for doneness. When soft, place it in a blender (do 2 or 3 batches if necessary) with the undrained cannelloni’s and some soup broth. Blend until smooth. Pour back into stew, stir, and serve.
You can add some more veggies to this-peas are great, green beans work well, and I like Brussels sprouts, too. A handful of dulse is also a good addition-add it when you add the water, and it'll disappear (except for flavor & vitamins ) by the time it reaches the table.