Irish White Bean and Cabbage Stew

by on March 11, 2009
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Irish White Bean and Cabbage StewWhat makes a dish Irish? Ask the average person on the street and he will probably tell you “corned beef and cabbage,” although I have it on good authority that corned beef is not a traditional Irish food. I’m certainly no expert; though I’d like to believe that at least some of my ancestors came to America from the Emerald Isle, any recipes or culinary traditions they might have passed down through the ages were lost long ago.

So I can’t claim that this is an old family recipe or even a traditional Irish recipe that I adapted or updated. It’s purely my own creation, created from basic ingredients (cabbage, potatoes, carrots) and seasonings (parsley, thyme, rosemary) that can be found in the simple, hearty dishes of Irish home cooking. With barley and white beans, too, it’s a healthy, filling meal all on its own.

Irish White Bean and Cabbage Stew

Irish White Bean and Cabbage Stew

(printer-friendly version)

Add a smoky flavor by sprinkling on a little hickory salt or Liquid Smoke just before serving.

Ingredients

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 ribs celery, chopped
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 head cabbage, chopped
  • 4 carrots, sliced
  • 1 to 1-1/2 pounds potatoes, cut in large dice
  • 1/3 cup pearled barley (optional or substitute with gluten-free grain)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon rosemary, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 6-8 cups vegetable broth
  • 3 cups cooked great northern beans (2 cans, drained)
  • 1 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Crock Pot: Place the vegetables, seasonings, and barley into a large (at least 5 quart) slow cooker. Add enough vegetable broth to just cover the vegetables (start with 6 cups and add more as needed). Cover and cook on low heat for 7 hours. Add beans, tomatoes, parsley, and salt to taste. Check seasonings and add more herbs if necessary. Cover and cook for another hour.
  2. Stovetop: Place vegetables, seasonings, barley, and broth into a large stockpot. Cover and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 45 minutes. Add remaining ingredients, check seasonings, and add more herbs if necessary. Simmer uncovered for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Cooking time (duration):75 minutes

Number of servings (yield): 6

Makes 6 large servings. Per serving: 254 Calories (kcal); 1g Total Fat; (3% calories from fat); 12g Protein; 52g Carbohydrate; 0mg Cholesterol; 50mg Sodium; 12g Fiber. Weight Watchers Core/ 4 Points.

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{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

1 SusanV August 1, 2009 at 8:33 am

Here are the comments that were posted before the blog was moved to Wordpress:

Ricki said…

This does sound very heart and delicious! And what a gorgeous bowl. You’ve got the greatest collection of dishware!

2:24 PM, March 11, 2009
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Ricki said…

PS–not sure if you got my email–I received the book and it looks fabulous. Thanks again!

2:25 PM, March 11, 2009
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jodye said…

This looks delicious, and so colorful! Thyme and rosemary are my favorites, especially with white beans.

2:29 PM, March 11, 2009
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DJ Karma said…

According to Alton Brown’s culinary anthropologist, corned beef was an American adaptation… just saw that yesterday ;) But that being said, nothing wrong with celebrating an Irish-American St. Patty’s Day! That looks delicious.

2:40 PM, March 11, 2009
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Run Saraah said…

That looks so delicious! I am always looking for more crockpot recipes, thank you.

2:51 PM, March 11, 2009
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Amanda Nicole said…

This looks delish! My Irish boyfriend would tell you that anything with the word “stew” in it is Irish. Though he claims to be force-fed so much stew as a child that he now recoils at the thought if it. I’ll just have to make up a new name for it!

3:03 PM, March 11, 2009
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Veganissexy said…

Looks delish! I just love love love your soups! This one will surely be bookmarked. Beats that nasty looking corned beef anyday!

3:20 PM, March 11, 2009
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Sarah Campbell said…

You’ve inspired me to cook barley tonight to go with my vegetable soup. I hope the boys will go along.
Sarah

3:23 PM, March 11, 2009
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anne said…

Bacon and cabbage was part and parcel of my Irish childhood, the smell was awful. One good thing about being vegan is never having to eat it again! I suppose that was the basis of corned beef and cabbage.

Your stew looks gorgeous – I’m going to have to try it myself.

3:34 PM, March 11, 2009
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Laci said…

Hi Susan-
I was wondering if you have any vegan birthday recipe recormendations? Other than sweets, those are happily completed already! ;)

3:48 PM, March 11, 2009
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Kiersten said…

This looks 10 times better than the bean-cabbage stews I have made before. I am trying this one next time!

4:01 PM, March 11, 2009
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Anonymous said…

Hi, I’ve always been a big fan of your blog and this stew looks delicious. However,the soup is labeled gluten free when it contains barley(which has gluten). I have celiac sprue and I was hoping you could correct this. Is it labeled this way because the barley is optional?

5:11 PM, March 11, 2009
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SusanV said…

Thanks for pointing out the gluten in the barley. I’d actually forgotten about it when I used the gluten-free label. I’ll make the change right now.

5:16 PM, March 11, 2009
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CDM said…

I was just complaining to my husband that I had 1/2 cabbage and no good recipes. This looks perfect!

6:31 PM, March 11, 2009
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Macie said…

Mmm! Cabbage is on sale super cheap here, so I’ll have to give this a go! :)

7:07 PM, March 11, 2009
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Jennifer A. Wickes said…

Yummy! I will have to make this…Friday!

8:40 PM, March 11, 2009
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Eating Consciously said…

this looks nice and hearty!

8:57 PM, March 11, 2009
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Candi said…

Yay! Another reason to use the crockpot for a great dinner! I love the recipe. I am following Eat to Live as best I can, and this recipe is perfect for it!!

I am behind on things, but do you have a recipe book coming out? With your recipes and photos, I’d be using this book DAILY. I know you can find lots of your recipes here online, but I print most of them out and miss out on your photography! I would looooooove a FFV cookbook! :) Either that, or I need a computer on my kitchen counter! lol! :)

9:37 PM, March 11, 2009
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Elyse said…

Irish or not, this stew sounds delicious!! I just love cabbage, and white beans, too! Sounds so delicious. I’m thinking about making this for myself over the weekend. I love a nice, comforting soup!

12:21 AM, March 12, 2009
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Penny said…

This looks delicious! Would butter beans (lima beans) be the same as great Americans? This is going to be on our weekend menu! Thanks!

7:49 AM, March 12, 2009
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SusanV said…

Hi Penny–I think lima beans will be great. Actually, almost any kind of beans should work!

7:58 AM, March 12, 2009
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veggievixen said…

so tasty!

12:07 PM, March 12, 2009
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Sarena Shasteen said…

Oh Yum! That looks so good and just in time for it to be cold here again!

2:35 PM, March 12, 2009
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Bianca said…

I’ve been looking for Irish-y foods to make on St. Patty’s day! This sounds great!

4:11 PM, March 12, 2009
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Anonymous said…

Hi Susan,

I am looking for a great new cookbook to add to my collection. I’m sure you’ve done this before, but could you list your top five or ten favorite cookbooks? Or maybe some new cookbooks that you particularly like?

(My favorites that I currently own include Veganomicon, Real Food Daily Cookbook, Vegan with a Vengeance, The Best Recipe, How to Cook Everything, and Vegan Planet)

Thanks for the great blog. I have seen it recommended once or twice in Vegetarian times–congrats!

Hannah

5:55 PM, March 12, 2009
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Ayla said…

This was awesomely awesome! Seriously, I loved it :)

7:01 PM, March 12, 2009
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Susan said…

This looks yummy! Going to try it next week.

Thanks so much for having both stovetop and crockpot directions :)

7:02 PM, March 12, 2009
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toontz said…

That looks wonderful, Susan. And since the temps in Wisconsin are hovering around 20 degrees, I am still making soup! A lot. :)

8:00 PM, March 12, 2009
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lisaiscooking said…

Looks fantastic! I think potatoes are all that’s required to make a dish Irish. ;)

8:18 PM, March 12, 2009
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Susan from Food Blogga said…

Forget green beer, this is my kind of Irish food. This is really lovely, Susan.

8:42 PM, March 12, 2009
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peterK said…

Have to try this recipe myself. Looks so delicious and sounds very healthy, indeed.

10:39 AM, March 13, 2009
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Vegan Eating Out said…

This looks so delicious and perfect in that china! If it were in a restaurant menu like that I’d order it in a heartbeat.

11:47 AM, March 13, 2009
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EasyComfortFoods said…

Interresting recipe. I am a fan of this kind of food. I started eating vegan a few months ago, at first for the healthy benefits, but after losing 40 pounds I just couldn’t stop eating that kind of food! I got addicted to vegies pretty fast…

I just can’t eat junk food anymore!

Anyways, thanks for that recipe I will add it to my personnal cookbook!

1:22 PM, March 13, 2009
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Chelle said…

Oh, I am so making this on St. Patrick’s day! Thanks!

2:23 PM, March 13, 2009
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Anonymous said…

haha, I would have said that ‘beer’ is the secret ingredient that makes it Irish! ;)

jen

5:36 PM, March 13, 2009
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katy said…

We made a version of this recipe using what we had on hand, and it went something like this:

1 leek
1 onion
3 cloves garlic
1 can great northern beans
some kale
1/2 cabbage
some veg. broth
1/2 can diced tomatoes
1 rutabaga
diced new potatoes
same spices, except fennel seeds instead of caraway

It was fabulous! I especially recommend the addition of leeks and rutabagas.

Thank you for the inspiration!

12:04 AM, March 14, 2009
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Lisa (Show Me Vegan) said…

Cabbage is one of my favorite ingredients for stew because it reminds me of how my mom made it. This looks delicious.

8:02 AM, March 14, 2009
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Anonymous said…

Not being Irish, I can’t comment on whether it’s an authentic Irish taste. Doesn’t matter…I made it tonight and it was great! My husband said to add it to our regular rotation.

8:40 PM, March 14, 2009
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Holler said…

This is just how I like my soup, thick with chunky vegetables and a bit like stew :)

12:01 PM, March 15, 2009
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Laura said…

I just stumbled on your blog and LOVE it!! THANK YOU for your postings! I have recently had a heart attack and have to change my eating habits. I thought I’d go mad looking for healthy recipes and then I came upon some of yours! I will be back often for more of your wonderful offerings!

12:30 PM, March 15, 2009
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Elessar said…

Ok, Susan, I have to recipes to present Lesley for what she would like me to make on/for St. Patrick’s day (already printed your corned beef & cabbage with gravy & potatoes recipe). I do love the addition of tomatoes–not only for color & taste, but because tomatoes are an American fruit, unheard in Europe (or elsewhere) before the Americas were ‘found’ by European explorers roughly 500 years ago, along with most squashes, corn, many chilies, many herbs,many beans, wild ‘rice’, tobacco …let alone the procedures to prepare them. Reading a book about what was standard (or royal fare) was like in Europe & Britain before the discovery of the New World was *fasinating*. Wish I could remember the author or title! Anybody know?

1:08 PM, March 15, 2009
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Angela W. said…

Susan — We made this tonight to lure the leprechaun’s out. (my 7 year old has a “leprechaun trap” set and wanted to place a miniature bowl filled with the stew in inside the trap!!)

Anyways, it is so fabulous.

You’re the best!

6:28 PM, March 15, 2009
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The Page of Emily said…

Just made this in my crockpot- it is good! I used my homemade veggie broth and ate it along side the homemade Irish Soda Bread I made today(via Martha Stewart)Thanks for the great vegetarian options!

9:24 PM, March 15, 2009
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Anonymous said…

Wow. This blog rocks. I can’t waited to get started on trying some of your recipes. Thanks for sharing!! :)

9:42 PM, March 15, 2009
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hillary said…

Is it possible to make this in a pressure cooker? I might attempt it.

5:30 PM, March 18, 2009
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uk chefs forum said…

I’m Irish and cant wait to make this stew myself !

4:51 AM, April 18, 2009

Reply

2 Emily December 27, 2012 at 12:49 pm

Did anyone ever end up trying this with a pressure cooker? I have a Fagor electric and I’m thinking of making this tonight. Will let you know how it goes.

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3 Anonymous October 30, 2009 at 2:14 pm

I made this last night with your Pumpkin Raisin Biscuits. My kids each ate two bowls of it! They are aged 13 months and 2.5 years old, so this is a huge deal, because they're both relatively picky. I used what I had and subbed kidney beans, purple cabbage and rice instead, but I think we still got the overall "Irish" flair!
~Annie

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4 junen April 16, 2010 at 12:37 pm

Made this several times. Hubby loves it. I want a bit more kick so I add Zatarain’s Creole Salt to mine – not Irish, but neither am I.

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5 Tracey April 19, 2010 at 10:59 am

We love this soup! It’s easy to make, lasts forever, and the kids enjoy it as much as we do. We end up getting 12 servings out of it, but we don’t make an entire meal of it either (though you certainly could!).

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6 Sophia October 27, 2010 at 4:14 pm

I was really impressed with the texture of this soup. I like hearty soups that keep you full for a long time, and this fits the picture perfectly. I can’t wait to see what else I can add in this to fill me up even more!
-Sophia

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7 Basil January 15, 2011 at 6:08 am

Wholly beans! This soup made enough to feed an army, and then some. I’m so glad it’s as tasty as it is, otherwise I would be in some real trouble. But it is such a good winter soup, and is really filling. I decided to add some setian, which I love in thick soups like this. But everything else way just so good. I love caraway seeds, they are one of my favourites of all time. Now I don’t have to make soup for another week or so, and that’s with eating this every day. Yay for soup!

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8 Laurie March 12, 2011 at 7:23 pm

I made this for dinner tonight. It was super-quick and easy, and so delicious! I used cannelini beans instead of great northern beans, because I had some on hand. I will definitely make this again soon.

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9 anonymous April 12, 2011 at 7:40 pm

This was delicious, made it tonight without the barley & used chick peas. I added a great deal of herbs too.

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10 lea May 12, 2011 at 2:31 pm

I wasn’t sure about spending $4.00 on caraway seeds (which I didn’t have) – but I am glad that I did! This stew is delicious. It probably sounds totally weird, but I also drizzled some yellow mustard over the top – mustard and cabage make such a tasty combination. Thank you Susan for such interesting recipes – you make vegan cooking endlessly entertaining.

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11 Julie & Marty July 30, 2011 at 5:21 pm

This is a very nice dish, we cut the recipe in half. I didn’t have caraway seeds and didn’t replace them with another spice. It really would have been more flavorful with the caraway seeds, I believe. We will make the other half this week and the caraway seeds are on the shipping list! My husband said it is an excellent dish and he will make it again.

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12 Karmalily September 5, 2011 at 6:25 pm

I just made this (with a slight variation) and it was not only delicious, but incredibly filling! I changed the recipe a tiny bit, sweating the carrots, onion, celery and garlic in oil, and then adding some extra virgin olive oil to the vegetable mixture before I added the broth. I also added some cayenne to this to give it some heat. I love filling, healthy meals that are also super affordable!

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13 Michelle B October 9, 2011 at 5:07 pm

Thanks, Susan. I made this today & it was fantastic! I made it exactly as you wrote it, except without the beans. We’ve been eating a lot of bean & lentil dishes lately, and I was feeling rather beaned-out. It was absolutely lovely: warm, comforting, and savory. I have always loved the flavor cabbage imparts to a hearty Fall stew. I’ll definitely make it again!

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14 amy October 16, 2011 at 12:11 pm

With cabbage at .29 cents/lb I couldn’t pass it up. I tried this recipe (sans barley) and loved it! The caraway seeds in the soup just called out to me to bake up some fresh rye to serve along side and it matched up perfectly. Thanks for another brilliant concoction.

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15 Julia B November 26, 2011 at 11:15 am

This looks great! I’m thinking about making it tomorrow. Do you think I could use spelt instead of barley? Thanks!

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16 shamrock January 10, 2012 at 3:06 pm

Made this in my crockpot yesterday. It was easy and delicious. I just started vegan diet in December and I am always on the lookout for great recipes like this.

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17 Connie Fletcher March 15, 2012 at 2:47 pm

Sounds delish!!! I’ll be making this!!!

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18 Veganish Lady March 16, 2012 at 4:11 pm

Hi,

I’m a longtime fan of your site! This stew is currently simmering on my stove and filling the kitchen with yummy smells :) Would you mind if I mentioned this recipe on my website if I link to this page (and don’t including the recipe or your photos, of course)?

Reply

19 Susan Voisin March 16, 2012 at 4:26 pm

I would be thrilled if you mention the recipe! I hope you enjoy it!

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20 Veganish Lady March 16, 2012 at 7:38 pm

Great! I enjoyed the bejeezus out of it, as did my dining companions.

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21 Connie Fletcher May 7, 2012 at 4:23 pm

Yum, Susan, just yum!!! I did, however, enrich the broth with a little (homemade) sun-dried tomato powder….gotta love the Vita-Mix and my dehydrator!!

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22 Connie Fletcher May 7, 2012 at 4:24 pm

Also, what do you use to replace salt? I’m a-havin’ some difficulty with that………

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23 Bobbi November 14, 2012 at 4:18 pm

Making this for the 2nd time in 3 weeks….the Irish White Bean and Cabbage Stew is so delicious !! I love your blog. Thanks for all your wonderful work.

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24 Radhika Sarohia November 27, 2012 at 6:46 am

Looks good. Looking forward to making this, just need to run out and buy some caraway seeds and parsley.

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25 Katie S. March 17, 2013 at 8:47 am

I made this yesterday for a St. Patrick’s Day dinner (a little early), and it was delicious with Irish soda bread. Can’t wait to have the leftovers! Thanks!

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26 Kirsten Ness April 28, 2013 at 6:39 pm

Glory be!! I made your Irish White Bean and Cabbage Stew and for the first time in my 16 months of making plant-based, whole foods meals for my family, ALL THREE KIDS ATE IT!! Thank you Susan! I was about to give up!

Shhh! I called it Irish Potato and Cabbage Stew when they asked me what it was! 2 of the 3 asked for seconds, and they all had requests for minor changes ‘next time you make this Mommy’.

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27 grandma6 February 10, 2014 at 10:12 am

Amazing! The whole family loves this wonderful stew. So much flavor and goodness…so little work.

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28 NK February 18, 2014 at 1:47 pm

Just made it for lunch. Looks great and taste great! Next time, however, i will simmer the stew for may be only 30 minutes since i like vegetables little crunchy! Thanks for the easy and healthy recipe!

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29 orthohawk March 5, 2014 at 2:14 pm

I always use hulled barley. With hulled, you’ll want to let it simmer in the broth by itself for 30 minutes before you proceed with the recipe: just add the veggies and seasonings at the end of the 30 minutes and proceed with Susan’s fabulous recipe according to the stovetop method. I’ve not tried this soup in the crockpot yet but I would think after 7 hours even hulled barley would be done :). I usually add about a 1/3 of a pound of green beans in 1 or 2 inch pieces as well. (tonight i’m going to be subbing turnip for the cabbage and a cup of red lentils (put in with the veggies) for a cup of the beans).

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30 Kate April 5, 2014 at 5:21 pm

This might be a crazy question, but I recently discovered chipotle chili powder which doesn’t seem very hot but has a really smoky scent like liquid smoke. Do you think a tiny bit of chipotle chili powder instead of liquid smoke would ruin the recipe?

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31 Lindsey Lou April 15, 2014 at 11:47 am

Hi Susan! I made this soup a couple of weeks ago and was happy with how easily it worked out in the crock pot. Such a beautiful mix of veggies and hearty, healthy flavor. All good things. Thank you for sharing! I posted your recipe (with slight modifications) on my blog with links back to you and pictures of my results, if you are interested. (Cabbage, White Bean & Potato Stoup) Again, many thanks. Love the blog!!

Lindsey Lou
sugar is smoking

Reply

32 kat November 13, 2014 at 8:55 am

This was delicious! Made it last night to stave off the winter chill that just arrived in our area. I loved how the barley thickened the broth so nicely. I used hulled barley, and cooked it in the pressure cooker (in veg broth) because I didn’t plan far enough ahead. I didn’t add the tomatoes, trying to make it a bit more traditional, and I didn’t have caraway, but I put a little fennel seed in to give it a bit of sausage-y flavor. Fantastic! Thank You!!

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33 Legion November 24, 2014 at 11:32 am

We made this stew last night… and it was A+ delicious! We both loved the variety of textures and hearty flavours. (We made a few modifications with what we had on hand: we soaked our own dried beans the night before; we used 1/2 carrots and 1/2 parsnips; we were out of thyme and subbed sage -was great!). Sooo delicious… thanks again Susan :)

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