Southwestern Bean and Barley Soup was a part of a recipe section from Eating Well magazine on food gifts that you could make. Before I made the soup mix to give to other people, I had to try it myself.
The soup mix was simple to make. It was layers of oregano (mine was Mexican oregano), cumin, and chili powder, with layers of black beans, barley, Northern Beans, and kidney beans. You can make the soup on the stove or in a crockpot. I decided to do the crockpot variation, because it’s easiest. You toss onion (I didn’t have fresh, so I used 1 cup frozen onion), carrots, celery, soup mix, 4 cups broth (or bouillon, like I used), and 2 cups water in the (6-quart) crockpot. Cook it on low for 7-8 hours, or cook it on high for 4 like I did.
This was pretty good. The recipe suggests garnishes of lime and cilantro, but I liked it better without them. The soup was hearty. It’s definitely a good winter soup with the beans and barley. I liked it just as it was, but you could add some shredded meat to it if you wanted. It probably would be good with a little cheese on it (if you liked cheese). This was a good soup, so I gave it as gifts this year. Hopefully they all like it as much as Alex and I did.