Oats, Peas, Beans, and Barley Soup
An old nursery rhyme inspired this soup.* The rhyme is also a recipe for a nice hearty soup. I gave it a try, and it became a family hit. It’s easy and satisfying.
You can use either a crockpot (let this go all night and all day and eat it the next night), or a heavy soup kettle (cook it all day and eat it that night). Leftovers just get better, so go ahead and cook a full recipe, which makes about 12 bowls of soup.
Begin with 8 cups of water. Add to them any or all of the following:
1/2 cup mixed whole grains, such as wheat, rye (rinsed), barley, buckwheat groats, or scotch oats, or any other whole grains you might have
1/2 cup mixed dried beans, such as kidney beans, lentils, navy beans, black beans, pinto beans, anasazi beans, or any other bean you might have
1 onion, chopped in big chunks
1 green pepper, chopped in big pieces
2 large carrots, chopped in big pieces
1-2 T dried herbs, according to your taste (oregano, basil, tarragon, etc)
Turn the heat on low. Let the mixture cook, stirring every few hours, until all the grains and beans are soft, or even longer. Add more water if it has cooked down to a stew.
At this point, you can blend a portion of it to make it creamier and blend with the whole grains in the pot, or move on to the next step.
Just before serving, add salt, or for a deeper, richer flavor add tamari soy sauce. A dab of sour cream or a swirl of heavy cream is a nice addition. We enjoy it with chunks of cheddar cheese melting in it in our bowls.
For a gluten-free option, leave out any wheat, rye, and barley, and be sure the tamari soy sauce is wheat-free.
If you have a meat bone, you can add it with the water at the beginning, and remove it just before serving.
*The nursery rhyme: “Oats, peas, beans, and barley grow / Oats, peas, beans, and barley grow / Neither you nor I nor anyone else knows how / Oats, peas, beans, and barley grow.”