First, I washed the celery and chopped it into thin slices, leaves and all, then tossed that into a heavy, cast iron pot along with some seasoned sunflower oil from a jar of sun-dried tomatoes.
- 2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced and chopped went in next
- then about 4 inches of leek (the white part) – sliced and diced
- followed by a pinch of dried red hot chili
- and a pinch of wakame seaweed.
- I had about 4 inches of yellow zucchini, so diced that
- along with one medium potato
- and one small apple.
- About 4 outer leaves of red cabbage went in next. These were washed, main rib removed and discarded, and the rest sliced and diced into small pieces.
- Add to that a can of organic, whole tomatoes and about two cans of water
- plus 2 dessert spoons of tomato paste (it comes in a tube here, that you squeeze out, like toothpaste!).
- Then I sprinkled red lentils, just enough to thinly cover the surface of the mixture, and stirred them in
- then the same amount of pearl barley.
- I covered the pot and set it over low heat to simmer for about 40 minutes – frequently checking and stirring, and if necessary, adding water to prevent sticking.
- This was then whizzed for about 60 seconds with a hand-held mixer. You don’t want to blend it, just chop it up a bit more.
- I then added some more water and put the whole thing back on the heat to simmer a bit longer.
- Oh yeah, there was about a tablespoon Naturally Good vegetable gravy powder.
I think it would be sensational served over your favorite pasta. The texture is a bit like a ground beef tomato sauce, with none of the animal fat.
About the water and consistency: You have to stir and taste and make your own choices. A lot of cooking is about choices. When you follow a recipe, you are basically following someone else’s choices. Yes, beginners need measures to guide them, but only for guidance. The best food is the food you enjoy cooking and taste along the way. Baking is another matter! It’s a bit more scientific and requires proper proportions to get the right consistency.