Chicken and Barley Broth

This chicken and barley broth takes a while to cook, though itís simple and full of goodness, with no added fat

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  • Serves 6-8

  • Prep time 20 mins

  • Cooking time 4 hrs

  • Total time 4 hrs 20 mins

  • Calories 343-257 per serving

  • Prepare ahead yes


  • 1 free-range roasting chicken around 1.25kg (2lb 4oz)
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 onion, halved
  • 1 carrot, roughly chopped
  • 6 peppercorns
  • 150g (5oz) pearl barley
  • 1 head fennel, chopped
  • 4 carrots, sliced
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 leeks, sliced
  • 150g (5oz) tiny pasta shapes
  • 5tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 4tsp concentrated chicken stock


This gutsy, nourishing soup is also delicious made with pheasant or guinea fowl, freezes well and will keep in the fridge for up to three days.


  1. Place the chicken in a large saucepan with the remaining stock ingredients. Add enough cold water to cover. Bring to the boil, cover, then simmer very gently for about 2 and a half hours.

  2. Remove chicken onto a plate, and let it cool for half an hour. Strain stock, remove bits and discard. Skim off scum and excess fat.

  3. Discard the skin from the chicken then pull off the flesh in big chunks. Add to the stock with the barley. Season well. Bring to the boil then simmer for 45 minutes. After 25 minutes, add the vegetables. Ten minutes before serving, add the pasta and the parsley.