Chicken soup for the soul

Chicken Soup for the Soul

When I think of chicken soup, I can’t help but visualise the creamy, textureless goop that comes in a can with a Heinz label on it. This is why, when you ask me, I tend to say “Chicken soup? Oh, not for me thanks”. Maybe it’s also the association it has with being the ideal ‘sickness’ food. I dunno, but I’ve never been a fan. That is, until tonight. This chicken soup changed things. It CHANGED THINGS I tell you.

I had made a roast chicken for dinner the night before (click here for the recipe) and was left with quite a bit of left over chicken. On a whim I decided to muddle it together into some sort of chicken and barley broth, and my goodness, it was bloody delicious and not at all like the creamy slop from my childhood.

The barley gives it a lovely chunky texture and the tomato, chilli and paprika give it a pleasant kick which put a bit of fire in your belly. It’s taken me 30 years, but I think I might like chicken soup now.


1 tbsp olive oil

2 medium onions, sliced

3 cloves garlic, minced

4 celery sticks, sliced

2 large carrots, grated

1 cup pearl barley

1 tin chopped tomatoes

1 tsp dried red chilli flakes

1 tbsp smoked paprika

2 tbsps tomato puree

4 cups cooked chicken, shredded

1000ml chicken stock

800ml water

Salt and pepper


Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot and add the onion and celery. Cook for 3-4 minutes then add in the garlic, chilli, paprika, carrot and tomato puree. Stir well and cook for another minute or two before adding the pearl barley and chopped tinned tomatoes. Add in your stock and top up with water. Throw in the shredded chicken, stir then leave to simmer for 45 minutes until the veg and barley are cooked through. Season really well with salt and freshly ground black pepper before serving.

Serves 6

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