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27 February 2015

Slow Cooker Barley and Vegetable Minestrone

One of the many talents of the slow cooker is to be my super silent assistant in the kitchen. I just put all the ingredients inside and off it goes to slow cooking for hours. I don't need to worry about cutting it short in the middle of cooking because I have to hop off the house for a few minutes to pick up my daughter in school. Lacking in proper time management skills (no one is perfect!), I sometimes find myself in the predicament of having to turn off the fire in the stove or the oven for a few minutes while I step out of the house for a few minutes. I never want to be late in picking up my daughter and I will never leave the fire (however low it is) nor the oven on while I am not home so my only option is to cut short the cooking and resume afterwards. And that's when I applaud one of the great advantages of slow cookers. I can leave it cooking for a few minutes while I am out.

Being the right season for soups and stews, I have created some fitting recipes for winter with the use of the slow cooker. A bowl of hot healthy soup in the warmth of the kitchen can't compare to anything else while avoiding the cold outside. I could also say snow but Rome rarely gets any. 

What's great about minestrone is that you can put anything you want in it. The vegetables are seasonal too. The soup can be thick or thin just like this one. Sometimes I put pasta or farro and different kinds of vegetables. In the vegetable stalls, it is quite common to see small bags of mixed vegetables in season that are diced in similar sizes. Those are pre-sliced for making minestrone. I usually get that because let's face it, peeling and dicing the vegetables take up so much time.  If by any chance, you have an empty rind of the Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, scrape off a thin outer layer with a knife to take away the dirt then include the whole rind in cooking the minestrone. It adds a special flavor to the soup. Of course, there will always be a sprinkling of Parmigiano Reggiano and drizzling of good extra virgin olive oil in the soup before having that first spoonful.

So let me leave you this recipe for the Slow Cooker Barley and Vegetable Minestrone that I created for She Knows. Check out my other recipes too in my Profile Page there. Hoping you enjoy your Friday! 

More Slow Cooker Soups: