I get a whole lot of requests for this one, especially at church functions...although it seems I can't ever seem to make it the same way twice! It's one of those "everything but the kitchen sink" soups, so I make it with whichever of the ingredients I already have on hand. Sometimes with the beans, sometimes without, for instance. After a lot of trial and error, here's perhaps my best variation. I'm pretty sure you'll like it and so will your family. Even my hubby who is the "I'm not the soup type" kind of guy likes this one...
1Add red onion, celery, garlic, parsley, and carrots to olive oil and sauté until onion is tender. You can also add the barley and wild rice at this point to let it get a little browning action and flavor going.
2Transfer to stock pot and add remainder of ingredients except for the peas, beans, green onions and bacon.
3Bring to a slight boil, then reduce to med-low heat. Continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes or until rice and barley are tender. Add additional water and seasoning if needed...barley and rice soak up a lot of liquid, so you'll probably have to. You can make this as "soupy" as you wish, or you can leave it on the thicker side.
4Add frozen peas, beans, bacon pieces and green onion tops about 5 minutes before serving and heat through.
5Variation – Substitute ½ ring of diced smoked sausage for the bacon pieces and throw in some macaroni at the last minute.
6Serve! Great with oyster crackers or a grilled cheese sandwich. Bet you can't eat just one bowl!