It wasn't Memorial day food but it was easy and tasty. The broth was beef like even though it was my homemade chicken oregano stock (4 C.) and a can of chicken broth. I used 9 sausage which was over kill, it doesn't need that much. I've reduced it here to 8 but it could be even less. Cooking the onions at the same time I browned the sausages blackened them too much. Next time I'll cook the onions first, remove them then brown up the sausages.
This was the first time I've cooked with barley and maybe the first time I have eaten it. It holds up well in a soup and especially in the crock pot where a noodle can become mushy.
I will make this soup again, the only bad thing I can say about it was that the chicken apple sausages loose the apple taste since they cook for so long but maybe it gave the soup additional flavor.
The original recipe came from last weeks, Contra Costa Times newspaper. The only major flavor change I made was to omit the 2 t. of fennel seeds because I am not a fan of that flavor.
SLOW COOKER SAUSAGE BARLEY SOUP
Drizzle of EVOO
1 onion, chopped
8 chicken apple sausages, sliced in rounds (2 pkgs.)
2 C. baby carrots, cut in thirds
2 cloves garlic, chopped
6 C. chicken broth
2 (15 oz.) cans white beans, rinsed, drained
¾ C. barley, rinsed
8 oz. jar (¾ C.) roasted red bell pepper, drained, chopped
2 T. amino acids
1 T. chopped fresh oregano (3-8"springs)
½ t. Kosher salt
½ t. coarse black pepper
Topping: Fresh basil, rolled and sliced into slivers
In a large 2" deep fry pan over medium heat cook onion till golden and soft, 5 minutes. Remove and place in slow cooker. To same skillet add sausage and cook slices for 8 minutes or till brown. Chop carrots and mince garlic. Add to skillet and saute another 5 minutes. Add to slow cooker along with remaining ingredients. Cook on low for 4-5 hours. Serve with a sprinkle of basil on top.