This recipe calls for kidney beans, but go with what you have or what you prefer.

2 T olive oil
2 c sliced onions
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 c pearled barley, rinsed
1 T  chopped fresh sage or 1 t dried
1/2 t salt
10 cup broth or water or a combination, divided, plus more if needed
1 large potato, diced into 1-inch cubes
2 c carrots, cut into 1/2-inch slices
6  – 8 c chopped kale
1 1/4 cooked (kidney) beans, drained if canned
2 T lemon juice
ground black pepper, to taste
grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
olive oil, for drizzling

1. In a large saucepan or soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat and add the onions. Sauté for about 6 or 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic, barley, sage, and salt. Cook for a couple of minutes, stirring more or less constantly to coat the barley with oil/onion mixture. Add 7 cups of broth and/or water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and let simmer for 45 minutes.

2. Add potato, carrots, and 2 more cups of broth and/or water. Bring back to a simmer, cover, and simmer for another 10 minutes.

3. Add kale to the stew with the last cup of broth and/or water. Simmer 10 minutes more or until barley and vegetables are just tender and to your liking. Add more water if the stew seems too dry.

4. Add the cooked beans, stirring them in well. Add the lemon juice. Taste for seasonings, but remember that Parmesan cheese is salty. Cook until beans are heated through.

5. To serve, ladle into bowls, sprinkle with Parmesan and drizzle with olive oil.