This deliciiously healthy soup is packed with protein and easy to pull together. Add some crusy bread and it's a meal.
Yield: Serves 8
For the soup: Either soak the beans and barley together overnight, or forget, and use the quick-soak method: cover them with plenty of cold water in a pot, bring them to a boil, turn off the heat, and leave them to soak for an hour or so. If you are using canned beans, don't soak them!
Now, warm the oil over medium-low heat in a soup pot and sauté the onion, garlic, and celery until they are softened and getting translucent -- around 5 minutes or so.
Add the soaked beans and barley (again, not if you are using canned beans! Don't add them!) along with the broth and water, then cover the pot and bring to a boil over high heat.
Lower the heat, set the lid partially ajar, and simmer the beans and barley for half an hour.
Now stir in 2 teaspoons of kosher salt (half as much table salt), then partially cover the soup again and simmer until the beans and barley are completely tender -- for half an hour or so, or until tasting tells you they're tender.
Stir in the corn and -- finally! -- the canned beans, if that's what you're using. Then simmer another 5 minutes, taste for salt -- it will need some, and if you don't add it, it will be very porridgy -- and serve with the herb drizzle.
For the herb drizzle: In a food processor or blender, whir together all the ingredients but the olive oil until fairly smooth. With the motor running, add the oil in a thin stream and whir until blended.