Fall is my favorite season of the year. I’m sad it’s gone and that for right now I am looking ahead to four more months of rainy Seattle weather until the 4th of July when the clouds part and the sun makes its first glorious appearance. Fall not only reminds me that my favorite holidays are coming up, but it daily offers me a cool breeze, beautiful orange and yellow leaves and bowls and bowls of soup. I love soup so much that I made it our main dish at our wedding last September. You’d think that tomato soup and grilled cheese would be cheap, but this wasn’t any Campbell’s and Kraft singles! This was gourmet, solid gold GC&TS! So to flaunt my love of soup, I had to start my first zero waste recipe with a hearty bowl of goodness.
This recipe is not my own. I am not a certified chef, which is why you’ll never see a video of how I chop vegetables, but I am GREAT at following recipes. This bean and barley soup I found in an Eating Well Magazine from a few Falls ago. It is not only delicious and healthy, but the ingredients it uses produce zero waste! Everything from the spices to the beans and barley can be purchased in the bulk department. The produce only leaves you with a small amount of compost (and a lot of tears; thank you, onion). The one thing that will be recycled after emptied is a box of chicken broth. Done and done! Zero waste, one recycled box and a lot of soup. Here’s how it’s made:
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 stalk of celery, diced
1 large carrot, diced
7 cups of water
4 cups (32 oz. carton) chicken broth or vegetable broth
1/2 cup barley
1/2 cup dried black beans
1/2 cup dried kidney beans
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tbsp salt
1. Heat the oil in a LARGE soup pot over medium heat (my stove has numbers, so for me this was about a 6.5).
2. Add onion, celery and carrot; stir occasionally until slightly softened, about 5 minutes.
3. Add water, chicken broth, barley, dried beans and spices.
4. Turn the heat up to high (or 10) until it starts to bubble, then reduce the heat to a medium-low (2), cover it with a lid and let it simmer for about 1 3/4 hour to 2 1/2 hours until the beans are soft. There’s a lot of liquid in this soup, so make sure you have enough room for it to bubble while it simmers. My biggest pot was barely big enough!
5. While the soup is simmering, rinse out the chicken broth carton and break it down until it is flat. YES, even throw inside the box that little aluminum tear tab from the opening. Make sure it is inside the box, otherwise if it’s loose it will cause jamming issues at the recycling center (so they say…).
6. Throw your veggie scraps in your compost bin (if you don’t have a compost bin, GET ONE!)
When the soup is finished and the beans are soft (2 hours was perfect for me), serve with warm bread and a glass of wine! Cheers to zero waste and many nights of great soup!