Monday, May 7, 2012

Chicken Barley Soup

Did everyone save their chicken carcasses from the baked chicken?  Mine sat in the freezer for a month, waiting its turn.

If you're familiar with cooking terms, most Jewish chicken soup is chicken with mirepoix.  In culinary school, my chef once handed me a chicken & matzoh ball soup recipe with mushrooms and broccoli in it, and no celery.  It looked more like won-ton soup with matzoh balls.  I talked him into letting me wing it, and it came out like it's supposed to taste.

Which brings up the point that I'm not very fond of matzoh balls.  It is very difficult to make them light.  Some people like the dense, rocky version.  I'm not one of them.  So, we're cooking up some pearl barley for the starch in this one.

I did a better job than I thought getting the meat off the chicken, so I bought a small can of chicken meat to supplement what I could get off the bones.  Or you could throw an additional thigh or breast in the pot, if you like lots of meat in your soup.

*1 carved chicken carcass
additional chicken meat to taste
*1 qt low-salt chicken broth
*1 C chopped onion (about 1/2 of a large one)
*2 C chopped celery
3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
salt and pepper to taste.
1 C pearl barley

1.  Place chicken carcass (& extra chicken), celery, onion, and carrots in a soup pot.  Add broth and enough water to keep the veggies swimming.  It is ok if the bones are not fully submerged.  Bring to a boil, lower to a simmer, and cook for 1 hour, turning bones every 15 minutes.

2.  In a 2 qt saucepan, bring barley and 4 C water to a boil.  Lower heat to a low boil and allow barley to cook for 30-40 minutes, until very soft and cracked.

3.  Remove chicken bones from soup pot.  Cut off any remaining meat and return to pot.  Discard bones.  Drain barley and add to soup.  Stir together.  Taste, and add salt and pepper as needed.  Serve hot.

Serves 8 as appetizer, 4 as main course

Difficulty rating  π

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