The beans and barley give off a lot of starch which thickens the broth from all the veg to form a nice sauce.
I experimented with the spices and wound up with a pleasing fusion of the Mediterranean and Asia. When you're working only with veg and spices you need to get creative to really make the flavors pop.
1/4 lb baby carrots, sliced on the bias
1 poblano, sliced into small strips
1 pint cremini mushrooms, sliced
1/4 small red onion, sliced thinly
1 jalaepno, sliced small
1 habernero, sliced small
3 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
1 tbl olive oil
2-3 cups water
2/3 cup red wine
1 tbl hummus
1 lime, zest and juice
1/2 cup pearl barley
1 can black beans, plus the liquid
3 pieces cloves
3 bay leaves
1/2 tsp coriander seed
1 tsp celery seed
1/2 tsp cumin seed
1 large handful fresh basil chiffonade
Cook down the carrots and mushrooms in the oil and salt until tender. Add the poblano and onion. Continue to cook until those are tender too. Add wine, jalapeno, habernero, garlic, barley, black beans, dry spices and 2 cups water.. Simmer over medium heat. Stirring occasionally. Letting the barley slowly absorb the liquid. Add water 1/2 cup at a time as needed to continue cooking the barley until tender.
When barley is almost done, stir in hummus, lime zest and lime juice. Simmer 5 more minutes or until barley is done. Stir in fresh basil. Let sit off heat for 2 more minutes.