I made this soup for our supper tonight. It was truly a meal in a bowl. Of course, I can't make anything without tweaking the recipe a bit, depending on what I have on hand.
First change was I soaked and cooked dried kidney beans. I also used more beans than called for because I thought the soup was a bit liquidy.
Then, because I've never even seen instant barley in our local shops, I used regular barley (1 cupful). That plus the extra beans made it more like a stew than a soup but it was really delicious. I guess it helped that I used an old Italian trick of simmering the rind from a Parmesan cheese wedge in with the soup.
Oh yeah, I never bothered to strain the broth because I had put the barley in right at the beginning so no point straining it. It seems to be an unnecessary step anyway. I used dried rosemary.
Thanks for the recipe. I could live on stuff like this.
"I don't know what the heck I'm doing, but I hope to **** it works".