Rich and Cozy Chicken Soup with Barley and Vegetables

  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into small dice
  • 2 stalks celery, cut into small dice
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • 2 boneless chicken breasts
  • 1-2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3/4 cup pearl barley
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper

A twist on the classic chicken noodle, barley offers fiber and protein that pasta does not!  In this recipe I roast the chicken, this keeps it juicier and gives better flavor!  Great for sick days or cold weather!

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Place chicken breasts in a baking dish and rub them with a bit of olive oil. Season them with salt and pepper and place them in the oven for about 30 minutes.  It is OK if they are a bit under done when they come out, the chicken will finish cooking in the soup.  In a medium pot, cook the barley just as you would pasta.  Drain any extra water.  To make the soup:  in a large soup pot, sauté the onions, carrots, celery and thyme in a bit of olive oil over low heat.  Do not let the vegetables brown at all.  When they are tender and fragrant (about 10 minutes), add the chicken stock and 1 cup water.  Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.  Let the soup simmer until the vegetables are cooked all the way through, about 5 more minutes.  Shred or chop the chicken into bite size pieces and add them to the soup.  If the chicken is NOT cooked all the way, return the soup to a boil once more before serving.  Season the soup with salt and pepper to taste.  Place a scoop of barley in your bowl and top with soup.  Note:  when you store this soup it is important to keep the barley in a separate container and add it as you eat it.  Otherwise the barley will absorb all the liquid in the soup in your fridge and it will be a soggy mess!