We thought it was strange not to have to soak the dry beans overnight but it just goes to show that Mom knows best! I added the dry beans after the meat is browned and made sure to mix it up a bit - sure enough, the beans started to shrivel and soften. I've never used pearled barley either but it is very nice and does not need to be substituted. Also, during the preparation, it seemed like there were not enough beans but it really is a nice proportion in the end. Have faith. I did add some baby carrots which worked very well too. We and our shabbat lunch guests loved it. I will certainly make this many more times!
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We thought it was strange not to have to soak the dry beans overnight but it just goes to show...