Kicking off soup season with a chicken barley soup

This post is dedicated to my dear boyfriend Matt, who is currently under the weather. Earlier today he disclosed to me a tragic tale about how he unwillingly needed to leave his house in order to purchase soup. Matt, this is the soup you can imagine that I’m to serving you. It tasted delicious. Enjoy, you sickie.


To many, fall means sweaters, boots and piles upon piles of leaves. While a serious fan of both the former and the latter, one of which allows me to reach optimum fashion levels (I really like layered clothing and black tights) and the other of which lets me to relive my ever-fleeting childhood, neither is what I think of immediately as autumn approaches. Nope, to me fall (and winter and early spring) is all about soup. With that, I officially declare that soup season has begun. It is not to end until the snow melts in the spring. That’s an order.

The best part about soup? It’s the king of all improvised foods. It lets you toss in absolutely anything, more specifically a large quantity of the pearl barley that I’ve had sitting in my pantry for about a year. To maximize the simplicity of this self-created recipe, I bought half a pre-cooked chicken from the deli section of my local grocery store. After a quick bike ride home my backpack smelled like a thousand Swiss Chalet branches. The dogs will be following me home from school, I know it.

Recipe: Chicken barley soup
– 3/4 cup pearl barley
– 3 2/3 cup chicken broth
– 1 1/2 cup water
– 3 stalks celery, chopped
– 1 1/4 cup cooked chicken, shredded into bite size pieces (about half a chicken)
– 1/2 tsp dry rosemary
– 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
– 1/4 tsp salt
– Half a zucchini, chopped into quarters

Toss the pearl barley into a large soup pot. Add the chicken broth and water and bring to a boil. Bring to a simmer.

Meanwhile, in a non-stock pan, fry to stalks of celery until they start to get tender, about 15 minutes. Add the chopped zucchini for the last five minutes.

Once the celery and zucchini are fried, add them to the soup pot along with the chicken. Add the rosemary, salt and pepper. Simmer the soup until the barley is puffed up and tender, about an additional 15 minutes.

Makes four servings.

Note: if you put leftovers in the fridge, the remaining liquid is likely to be absorbed by the barley. Before reheating, add enough water to cover the barley/chicken, etc.



5 thoughts on “Kicking off soup season with a chicken barley soup

  1. Never thought of barley with chicken in soup but why not? Sounds delish. And you’re absolutely right about soup. We are big soup eaters in winter. Basically, we pitch what we can find in the fridge to make a good soup and we try to always include chopped leafy green so we can get away with a one-pot meal.Spinach, kale, beet greens, whatever.

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