Barley, Kale, and Kidney Bean Stew

 I think this is one of the first recipes I shared with CSA members.  I freeze lots of kale in the fall so that we can enjoy this stew all winter long.  It’s the best!

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups sliced onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup pearled or hulled barley
2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage, or 1 teaspoon dried sage
1/2 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
10 cups water or basic vegetable stock, or more as needed
1 large potato, peeled and chopped into one inch cubes
2 cups, half-inch thick carrot rounds
1 small bunch kale
1 1/4 cups cooked and rinsed kidney beans
2 tablespoons lemon juice
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil 

1.  In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat, and add onions.  Cook the onions for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the garlic, barley, sage, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 7 cups of the water or stock.  Cover the pan, bring the stew to a boil, and turn the heat to low.  Let the stew simmer for 25 minutes, then add the potato, carrot, and 2 cups more water or stock.  Cover the pan again, and let the stew simmer for 10 minute more. 

2.  Cut the stem and inner stalk from the kale.  Coarsely chop the leaves (there should be about 6 cups) and add them to the stew with 1 cup water or stock.  Simmer for 10 minutes more, adding more water or stock if the stew seems too dry. 

3.  Add the kidney beans, stir well, then add the lemon juice.  The stew should be similar to a pilaf, but slightly less dry.  Taste the stew, and add the salt and pepper, keeping in mind that you will also be adding Parmesan cheese.  Ladle the stew into bowl, sprinkle the cheese over, then dribble 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil over each bowl.  Serve the stew hot.

– from Vegetarian Planet by Didi Emmons