I am only calling this minestrone because I call virtually everything I eat with a spoon a minestrone. I got the inspiration for this recipe from a Croatian cookbook, and the flavour of barley immediately transferred me to my childhood, as my grandma used to cook barley quite often.
I will not post an exact recipe, as I suppose you can infer most of the ingredients from the photo. And indeed, any minestrone is more an improvisation than anything else. I would emphasise a few things, though. I used dried beans, soaked overnight and cooked in a pressure cooker. At the same time as the beans were cooking, I cooked a piece of smoked ham. I threw away most of the cooking water, I just left a cup for flavouring. The pressure cooker works so quickly that, during pressure cooking, I had enough time to chop up and prepare all the ingredients that will go in the minestrone.
Winter food at it’s best!