You can make this more stew-like by increasing the amount of barley, to, say, a cup, and/or reducing the liquid by a couple of cups.
3 T vegetable oil
2 c chopped onions
6 c coarsely chopped cabbage
1 c (peeled) chopped carrots
4 c (peeled) chopped potatoes
2 c (peeled) chopped white turnips
1/3 c pearl barley
8 c broth or water, or a combination
1 T dried herb, or 1/4 c chopped fresh herb, optional
salt and pepper, to taste
chopped fresh herb, for garnish, optional
1. Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions and the cabbage and sauté for about 8 minutes, until just starting to brown some.
2. Add the carrots, potatoes, turnips, barley, broth, herb if using, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1 hour until vegetables and barley are tender. Garnish with fresh herb, if using. Serve hot.