Thursday, January 24, 2013

Chicken, Vegetable & Barley Soup

When I was recently back home in Scotland I went out quite a lot for lunch and the one thing that I always love when I go out for lunch there, is that the soups are always fantastic. Now to be honest there is no excuses for bad soup, but the thing I love about the soups I had was that they weren't fancy soups with exotic or indulgent ingredients, they were the simplest soups you could imagine, using everyday ingredients. They were the kind of soups that my Gran used to make using good quality stock from the roast they had cooked on the Sunday and using some of the left-over meat along with vegetables that were in the fridge or pantry and sometimes a grain to help bulk it up and turn it into a hearty, nourishing and completely delicious bowl of soup.

This is my version of a soup I had at a wonderful farm shop and restaurant near to Perth. It is definitely a soup that needs a good stock so if you don't have any homemade stock then use the best quality, good tasting stock you can. It's a basic hearty soup so feel free to change the vegetables around and use whatever you have available, and for a vegetarian version simply miss out the chicken and use vegetable stock instead.

150g (¾ cup) pearl barley*
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 leek, cleaned and sliced
2 stalks of celery, sliced
2 carrots, peeled & sliced
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 medium potato, peeled and cut into cubes
1.5 - 2 litres chicken stock**
Salt & pepper
Couple of handfuls of cooked chicken, shredded or cut into small pieces
2 tbsp parsley, finely chopped
Squeeze of lemon juice to serve (optional)

Rinse the barley well under water then put into a medium sized pan. Cover with cold water, bring to a boil then leave to boil for 10 minutes.

While the barley is boiling heat the oil in a large pan and saute the onion, leek and celery until softened but not coloured (roughly 5-7 minutes). Add the garlic, carrots and potato and stir everything together and cook for a couple of minutes until the barley is ready.

Drain the barley then add to the vegetables along with 1.5 litres of the stock. Season with salt and pepper and leave to simmer for 20-30 minutes or until the barley is cooked and tender. Taste to check the seasoning and adjust if necessary then add the shredded chicken and parsley. Cook for a further 2 minutes just until the chicken is warmed through then if you like spritz with a little lemon juice. Serve at once for a hearty and healthy soup that will warm you up in an instant.

*Depending on the type of pearl barley that you use, you might need to soak it first so follow the instructions on the packet up until the last 20-30 minutes of cooking.

**If the soup isn't all eaten straight away and is left to stand you will need to add more stock to it as it will continue to thicken as the barley soaks up the stock. 


  1. My wife emailed me from the office. "Yep, I got the flu." So me and Buddy, the Dog will be heading to the grocer in a while to pick up a few things to make a batch of this wonderful soup for my wife when she gets home. Great timing!

    1. Sorry to hear she's sick but delighted to be able to help out a little with this recipe! I hope you all enjoy it and feel better soon x

  2. This looks delicious! I always see barley paired with beef, so this is a nice change! Will definitely try it out, as my daughters and I love soup! :-)

  3. This is a wonderful soup recipe. I can just imagine the smell coming from the kitchen.

  4. I'm new to blogging and happened across your blog. Your recipes look delicious and I will have to try some!!

  5. This soup looks really tasty! Barley sounds like a welcome break from the ordinary chicken-noodle soup.

  6. Okay trying this today Lynds...after trying your mushroom risotto last night����


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