This week’s new recipe is a deliciously hearty and nourishing chicken, vegetable, and barley soup with fresh basil and lemon. It’s packed full of vegetables and delicious fillings like lentils, beans, pearl barley, and chicken, yet still tastes fresh and light.
This soup is perfect to make in bulk and freeze in batches for future easy lunches and dinners. It also stores well in the fridge in an airtight container for up to three days.
Ideally, you want to have soaked the barley overnight in a bowl with cold water. You can leave this to soak for up to two days before making the soup. If you've forgotten, or are short on time, simply place the dry barley in a bowl, cover with boiling water, then set aside until ready to add to the soup. You’ll also want to make sure all your veggies and ingredients are cut and prepped ready for when you get started.
Enjoy the recipe and please let me know if you have any questions.
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 4 chicken thighs
- Pinch chili flakes
- 1 medium to large brown onion, finely chopped
- 4 stalks celery, finely chopped
- 2 medium to large carrots, finely chopped
- 3 tbs of ‘woody herbs’, finely chopped (thyme, sage, rosemary, oregano - one or a mix of these. I've used fresh sage and thyme).
- 5 fresh bay leaves
- 6 large cloves garlic, 5 finely sliced and 1 kept whole
- ¾ cup dry pearl barley, soaked in water overnight (you could also use farro or brown rice - the brown rice doesn’t need to be soaked overnight)
- 1.5 litres of good quality chicken stock/broth
- 1 x 400g can lentils, drained
- 1 x 400g can beans of your choice, drained (I've used borlotti)
- 1 large parmesan rind or 2-3 small pieces of rind (optional)
- 1 large zucchini, finely chopped
- Zest of 1 lemon
- Juice of half lemon
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves, roughly 1 large bunch
- 2 cups finely shredded silverbeet, you could also use kale (if using silverbeet, finely chop the stalks and add them too)
- Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
- Ideally, you want to have soaked the barley overnight in a bowl with cold water. You can leave this to soak for up to two days before making the soup. If you've forgotten, or are short on time, simply place the dry barley in a bowl, cover with boiling water, then set aside until ready to add to the soup.
- Make sure all your veggies and ingredients are cut and prepped.
- In a large saucepan add a generous glug of olive oil and place onto high heat.
- Add the chicken thighs and sear until brown. At this stage, we don't want to cook the chicken but instead brown the outside for maximum flavour.
- Once browned, remove from the heat, place into a bowl then set aside. Don't worry if any chicken has stuck to the bottom of the pan. This will add great flavour when it mixes with the veggies and stock.
- In the same pot add the pinch of chili flakes, finely chopped onion, celery, carrot, and finely chopped silverbeet stalks.
- Now add the finely chopped herbs, bay leaves, a pinch of sea salt, and sauté for a few minutes.
- Next, add the garlic slices and sauté for a minute or two.
- Drain and add the pearl barley, and the stock, and stir to combine.
- Add back the browned chicken and any juices from the bowl, then add the parmesan rind.
- Ensure the chicken is covered with stock, then place the lid on the pot and leave to simmer for 1 hour.
- After an hour, remove and discard the parmesan rind and bay leaves.
- Next, remove the chicken and set aside in a bowl.
- Now add the drained beans and lentils, the finely chopped zucchini, and simmer for 5 minutes.
- While the soup is simmering, roughly chop the cooked chicken and then add it back into the soup.
- Next, grate or crush the single clove of garlic directly into the soup.
- Now add the zest of 1 lemon, the juice of half a lemon, and salt to taste.
- Next, add the fresh basil leaves and silverbeet, then stir to combine.
- Simmer for 1-2 minutes until the silverbeet and basil are wilted and vibrant green.
- Dish and top with fresh basil leaves, parmesan, black pepper, and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil (optional).
NOTE: Freezes perfectly and also lasts for up to 3 days in the fridge in an airtight container.