Ingredients: (Serves 8-10)
2 tbsps olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 large carrots, peeled and chopped into 1cm cubes
4 large celery stalks, cleaned and cut into 1cm slices
2 bay leaves
1.5 litre (6 cups) reduced salt stock
0.5 litres (2 cups) water
200 g of pearl barley, rinsed and drained
400 - 600 g of cooked chicken, shredded
To serve: Handful of chopped parsley
How to make:
Heat the oil in a pan over a medium heat and add the onions, carrots and celery. Cook for 5 or so minutes until they start to soften, stirring intermittently.
Add the stock, water and bay leaf, bring to the boil then add the barley.
Reduce to a simmer and cook for approx. 45minutes or until the barley is tender then remove the bay leaves.
Add shredded chicken and heat through for around 5 minutes until it is hot.
Serve with freshly chopped parsley.
As this makes a large batch, you can freeze half the veg/barley/stock mixture (without chicken in it) and then just add half the amount of chicken noted in the recipe (so 200-300g) to the remaining soup mix and it will keep in the fridge for a few days. With it having cooked chicken in, you don’t want to have it in the fridge for more than 2-3 days. This works well if there are only a couple of you in the house eating the soup or you are making this just for yourself.
If you have time, you can swap the 0.5litre of water and 0.5litre of pre made stock out for your own homemade stock (or more if you like, it can all be homemade). You could buy a cooked chicken and take the meat off to use to add into the soup. Then add the chicken carcass to 1 litre of boiling water along with the carrot peelings, celery tops from the veg prep, a handful of parsley stalks if you have them, a chopped onion and 2 bay leaves and simmer with a lid on for an hour. Then strain this, discard the chicken bones and other vegetable scraps, season with a little salt and voila…. stock is ready!