This was a good soup but there are better soups on this site.
From EatingWell: November/December 2010
Serve this zesty bean and barley soup garnished with chopped fresh cilantro and a squeeze of lime, if desired.
I made this soup in the slow cooker with a few minor adjustments. First, I soaked the beans in a bowl of water for about an hour before putting into the slow cooker. I also added a can of ro tel diced tomatoes and chiles for a little flavor and spice. I added the liquid as modified in the recipe for a slow cooker, and really like the way this came out, very hearty and thick, almost like a stew. I would suggest adding more water if you like your soups a bit thinner. My husband added a little tobasco, but he likes a lot more heat than I do, I thought it was perfectly seasoned. Definitely a keeper!
This is a great winter warmer. My thanks to the previous reviewers who advised increasing the seasoning. I had a bone from a spiral ham and though, it's not low sodium, it makes an excellent broth. I refrigerated and skimmed the fat from the stock and made the recipe as directed except I ONLY had navy beans and barley in the pantry. I increased the amount of veggies and spices. The end result was outstanding!
After reading the reviews I adjusted the recipe accordingly and doubled the spices added 2 t Mexican oregano, chopped hot pepper (fresh or dried), and added more carrots and celery. I used 6 cups of water because I like a thick and hearty soup and call it a meal. I also added the barley in the last 1/2 hour of cooking because I like is chewy.
Was extremely disappointed in this soup. It had no taste -it was like eating water with beans. I gave it as a give and even my friends said is was tasteless (how embarassing.) I usually find great delicious recipes from this magazine so I had no hesitation giving it as a gift without trying it out first...big mistake. The only thing that made the soup edible was adding tons of salsa. Did anyone in the test kitchen even try this soup before publishing it?