You can play around with your ingredients but I do recommend to include some kind of smoked meat, sausage or pancetta, it makes it a hearty and a full meal, as well as much more flavorful. In this case I used some ham hock's.
2 cups of barley
1 to 1 1/2 lbs of ham hock's
2 carrots cut in about 2 inch pieces
1 parsnip or 1/4 of celery root cut in about 2 inch pieces
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbsp of pesto
2 tbsp of good olive oil
salt and pepper
2 cups of chicken or beef stock
Wash the barley a few times and put in a pot with stock and some water. Add ham hock's, carrots and parsnip/celery root and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil.
Add olive oil and pesto and add some more water if needed.
Cook on simmer for about 30 to 40 minutes. I don't like to let barley get too soft so I often check it and adjust my cooking time as well as how much liquid it's needed.
This is a meal in it self and I most often eat it as is, but sometimes I like to enjoy it with a slice of some rustic bread with a bit of butter, it is really delicious.
For added protein, sometimes I put a can of kidney beans in for the last 10 minutes, which makes it even more hearty...I hope you try this soup, you will not be disappointed!