Stovetop: Let soup base fully dissolve in water. Add all ingredients except the peas and barley. Bring to boiling, then reduce heat and simmer 1 hour. Add peas and barley and continue cooking 1 hour.
Crockpot: Cook ingredients on low overnight and/or throughout the day. Turn to high and add peas and barley for last hour.
I usually use stew meat or round steaks for this recipe. Less expensive cuts of meat actually have more flavor than expensive cuts do and are great in soup.
This is a very forgiving recipe. You can change the recipe to suit your taste, or what you have on hand. Can substitute rice or pasta for the barley, just be sure to adjust the amount and cooking times of these accordingly. You can also add, or omit, any vegetables you desire. Just make sure to include the celery, onions and carrots which is the base of the vegetable flavor in this soup. If you decide to use bullion instead of the soup base you may want to leave out the salt as it is pretty salty.
Bones give soup a wonderful flavor, so if you buy a cut of meat that has a bone do not discard it. Throw it in the pot and remove it before serving along with the bay leaves.