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Creamy Vegetable Barley Soup

From: Chef /owner Frank Scibelli, Mama Ricotta’s and Cantina Fifteen Eleven, Charlotte, NC. Yield: 4 servings.

1 15-oz. can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1⁄2 cup frozen whole kernel corn
1⁄2 cup medium pearl barley
1 14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1 cup chopped onion
1 carrot, peeled and sliced
1 stalk celery, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. dried oregano or Italian seasoning
1⁄2 tsp. salt (optional)
1⁄4 tsp. pepper
1 14-oz. can low-sodium chicken broth
1⁄4 cup cornstarch
3 cups cold fat-free milk
1⁄4 cup chopped parsley
4 tsp. reduced-fat shredded Parmesan cheese

In a 31⁄2 to 5-qt. slow cooker, place beans, corn, barley, tomatoes, mushrooms, leeks, carrot, celery, garlic, oregano, salt (if desired) and pepper. Pour in broth, cover and cook on low heat for 8 to 9 hours (or on high heat for 4 to 5 hours).

Near end of cooking time, stir cornstarch into milk. Stir milk mixture into slow cooker until well-blended. Continue cooking 20 to 30 minutes, or until soup has thickened. Sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley and cheese at serving time.


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