As the weather turns chilly, cold season is creeping up -it seems everyone is coming down with something, or has a cough or a case of the sniffles. Chicken soup is a generations-old remedy used around the world to fight colds and flus and generally make those who are under the weather feel better – and taken care of. Making a pot of soup from scratch is not difficult – a good thing if you’re the one who’s coming down with something.
When we do roast chicken for dinner (even one from the deli), we like to leave some meat on the bones for a meaty stock that’s easily turned into a hearty soup; and around the holidays, there’s almost always chopped roasted turkey in the freezer to add to soups like this one.
This is a slightly heartier version of a classic chicken noodle soup; using barley instead of noodles boosts fibre and other nutrients, but you could swap regular egg noodles too. They’ll take less time to cook – about ten minutes. The addition of greens makes it even more nutrient-dense and rich in vitamin C – a good thing when you’re trying to beat the sniffles.
Chicken & Barley Soup with Greens
canola oil, for cooking
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
3-4 skinless, boneless chicken thighs, chopped, or 1-2 cups leftover roast chicken, chopped
1 L chicken or vegetable stock
1/2 cup pearl or pot barley
1 sprig thyme
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
a handful of fresh or frozen baby spinach or torn kale
In a large saucepan or small Dutch oven, heat a drizzle of oil over medium-high heat. Saute the onion, carrot and celery for a few minutes, until soft; add the chicken and cook for a few minutes, until it turns opaque.
Add the stock, barley, thyme and 1 cup of water and bring to a simmer; cook for 30 minutes, or until the barley is tender. Remove the sprig of thyme, season with salt and pepper as needed, and add a handful of baby spinach or torn kale to the pot and stir until it wilts. Serve immediately.