The weather here is crazy today! A total downpour of rain, gusts of wind, and waves crashing up on the shore. This soup is exactly what this kind of weather calls for.
Soups are one of the reasons I find myself looking forward to weather like this because it means snuggling up to a bowl of hot comfort. Here is my recipe for a classic chicken barley soup that is rich in flavor, packed with nutrients, and satisfying to both tummy and soul.
Barley is such a fabulous tasting grain and I wonder why we don’t use it more often. Though it was one of the first ever domesticated grains, is the 4th highest produced grain in the world and is a staple in some cuisines around the world, it isn’t much for cooking in the U.S.. It’s still widely used in the production of cereals, animal food and beer, but it’s not often that you see dishes featuring barley. Perhaps that stems from barley having been designated as peasant food during medieval Europe while wheat was regarded as the grain of the upper class. But for flavor and nutrition I would take barley over wheat any day.
What are some ways you use barley in cooking or baking? Share your ideas in a comment below!
Barley adds a delicious flavor and texture to this soup in the same way it does to this Hearty Beef and Barley Stew. It’s simple to make and the leftovers taste even better the next day. Sautéing the vegetables before simmering the soup brings out their sweetness and flavor so don’t skip that step.
Let’s get started!
Heat the butter over medium-high heat in a pot. Cook the onions until soft and translucent, 5-7 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the carrots and celery and cook for 10 minutes. This will bring out more of their flavor.
Add the barley and cook for another minute.
Add all remaining ingredients except for the parsley. Bring it to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for one hour.
Remove the chicken, remove the meat from the bones and dice it, discard the skin and bones, and return the meat to the soup. Add the parsley.
Simmer for another minute until heated through. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 large carrots, diced
- 2 large celery stalks, diced
- ½ cup uncooked pearl barley
- 8 cups chicken broth
- 2½ pound bone-in chicken pieces (can also use chicken breast but bone-in pieces provide a vastly superior flavor)
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary (or ½ teaspoon dried)
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme (or ½ teaspoon dried)
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage (or ½ teaspoon dried chopped sage, ¼ teaspoon if ground)
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
- Heat the butter in a pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Saute the onions until soft and translucent, 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the carrots and celery and cook for another 10 minutes. Stir in the barley and cook for another minute.
- Add all remaining ingredients except for the parsley. Bring it to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 1 hour.
- Remove the chicken, remove the meat from the bones and dice it, discard the skin and bones, and return the meat to the soup. Add the parsley. Simmer for another minute until heated through. Add salt and pepper to taste.
More barley? Try this delicious Hearty Beef and Barley Stew!