Chunky chicken-barley soup
Food'Best-ever soup'

Chunky chicken-barley soup

A meal in a bowl

Chunky chicken-barley soup (Photo by Miriam Szokovski)
Chunky chicken-barley soup (Photo by Miriam Szokovski)

I didn’t create this one — it’s my friend Rishe’s signature dish, and it could easily be renamed the best-ever soup. It certainly has my vote.

In fact, pretty much everyone who has tried it raves about it. I knew I had to share the recipe with you, and Rishe graciously agreed to let me make and photograph it with her.

This is not your typical chicken soup, with clear broth and matzah balls. It’s pretty much a meal in a bowl, with lots of chicken, vegetables and barley in every bite, and the barley helps thicken the broth, giving it a real, hearty, full-bodied flavor. Delicious for Shabbat or any weeknight. Oh, and the leftovers make fantastic work lunches if you have access to a microwave.

The recipe below makes a full 12-quart pot of soup (because you will surely be asked for seconds and thirds, and you will want to eat it all week long), but you can easily halve or even quarter it if you want to make less.

Chunky chicken-barley soup

2-pound chicken (you can use white or dark chicken, on the bone or off)
2 large Spanish onions, diced
1 huge (or 2–3 small) zucchini, peeled and diced
5 huge (or 10 small) carrots, peeled and diced
1 bunch celery, leaves removed, stalks diced
½ pound barley
¼ cup kosher salt
Pinch of black pepper

This recipe is for a 12-quart pot, but you can easily halve it if you want to make a smaller amount.
Place the chicken, onion, zucchini, carrots, celery, salt and pepper in the pot. Fill the pot with water and bring it to a boil. Reduce it to a simmer and cook for two hours.

Add the barley and cook for another 45-60 minutes.

Remove the chicken, debone it, dice it and return it to the soup.

Serve immediately or refrigerate it for later. It also freezes well. PJC

Miriam Szokovski is a writer, editor and member of the editorial team.

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