Fall is in the air! Yesterday was the official start to Autumn, and the 1 year anniversary of this blog! (Ahhhhh!!! Can you believe it?! How time flies when you’re having fun!) To mark this momentous occasion, I would like to celebrate by featuring one of my grandmother’s favorite soups: Chicken and Barley Soup!
Sigh… There’s nothing quite like snuggling up on the couch and having a hot bowl of homemade soup during the colder months. There’s just something very cozy and nostalgic about that. But enough reminiscing, let’s get you guys started with this recipe so you can prepare and eat this scrumptious dish!
Alrighty! Don’t be intimidated by the list of ingredients here. Most of the items are common enough household items that you should already have a majority of them in your pantry/fridge.
8-10 cups of water
1 Chicken – whole
2 Yellow onions – diced
8-10 Carrots – peeled and roughly chopped
5-6 Ribs of celery – peeled and roughly chopped
2 Leeks – cleaned and sliced
1 1/2-2 Cups of barley – prepared per instructions on package
1 T. of minced garlic
2 Bay leaves (dried or fresh)
Oil (olive or canola)
Kosher salt – to taste
Let’s get started breaking down the whole chicken, eh? (Channeling my inner Canadian.) I have a link here to a pretty easy breakdown on YouTube.
Once you have the chicken broken down, put it in a baking dish and saran wrap it and put it in the fridge. We’ll come back to this later. Yum! Make sure to save the carcass! That’ll be used for the broth.
Next, take some oil (olive or canola) and put it in the bottom of a large pot and add half of your onions, celery and carrots.
Just a Little Tip (JLT): The larger the pot, the better, as we’ll be adding water, veggies, and chicken!
Let these veggies sauté for a few minutes, until the onions are translucent.
While that is sautéing, grab your leeks and let’s prep them. Leeks are such a wonderful aromatic for broths and soups, however they tend to be a bit on the sandy side, so we want to ensure that we rinse and clean them as best as possible.
First, rinse off the dirt/sand on the outside of the leek the best you can. Then cut off the top green portion. Save that for flavoring the broth. Then cut off the stem and discard. Next, take a little bit of a deeper dish and fill it with enough water to cover the leeks and let them sit. The remainder of the sand in the leeks should sink to the bottom.
JLT: If you need to, you can always do a second rinse of the leeks afterwards as well.
Then cut them into ring slices about 1/4″ wide.
By the time this is done, the veggies in the pot should be sautéed enough. (Yay!) Add in the water, peppercorns, half of the leeks, both leek tops, garlic, bay leaves and some salt and bring to a boil. (I don’t provide a specific amount of salt, because each person’s affinity for salt is different. Best part about this is that you can try the broth right now as there is NO chicken that we’ve added yet. Once we add the chicken do NOT test the broth UNTIL the chicken has been cooked thoroughly, as you don’t want to get sick.)
Once you have the broth to your liking, add the chicken carcass and let simmer for 2 hours. This will add a nice deep flavor to your broth. (Are you salivating yet?!)
After you let the broth simmer for 2 hours, grab a colander and put it in another large pot and drain the broth into it. This allows us to remove the peppercorns, bay leaves, carcass and any unnecessary chunks of fat that came off when we were simmering the broth.
You should be left with the below image. Huzzah!
At this point, put the pot back onto the stove and add the remainder of the leeks, carrots and celery and bring to a simmer.
While that is simmering, cook the barley according to the instructions on the package. In a separate sauté pan, add the remainder of your onions over medium-low heat with oil, again either olive oil or canola, and let sweat. (This means sauté, but lightly sauté. We don’t want the onions to turn brown and caramelize.)
Once the onions are translucent, add them to the barley and let cook for 40 minutes.
While the onions/barley mixture is cooking, add the chicken that you broke down, or fabricated (woo! industry term!) and let that cook in the chicken broth. By the time the barley is done, the chicken should be cooked through as well.
Before you add the barley, remove each piece of the chicken from the broth with tongs and put it on a cutting board. Use two forks and shred the chicken from the bone. Discard the bones and put the chicken meat back into the soup pot. Add the barley and let cook for an additional 40 minutes.
Feel free to season with some salt and pepper to your taste. Once that 40 minutes is over, you are ready to serve your delicious homemade soup! Congratulations, you did it!!
Any additional soup I have, I like to store in mason jars and freeze and then thaw it out in the fridge when I want it for dinner. 🙂
As always, I hope you enjoyed this post and thank you for following along with me on Stark Naked Cooking! I look forward to seeing you next Friday for our next recipe!