‘Tis the season…
No, I’m not lost in a Christmas time warp. It’s the time of year when the mercury goes up and down like a yo-yo. When you want to get out for fresh air, but the weather holds you captive inside. When the germ potential on every possible surface is at an all-time high. The season I’m talkin’ about is cold and flu season.
I don’t know how you deal with sickness. I personally prefer solitude. Give me some hot water with honey and lemon and Netflix bingeing under a cozy blanket.
When it comes to food? My Love reverts to his childhood and wants ginger ale and crackers or pretzels. Me? Gimme a steaming bowl of chicken soup.
I like to have single servings of soup in the freezer. It’s handy to heat up for lunch; or like now, when you don’t feel up to cooking, but you want something warm and comforting.
Barley is a cereal grain with a nutty flavour and a slightly chewy texture and automatically ups the heartiness factor of a soup. My Love, as I’ve mentioned before, prefers a creamy soup, as it just seems more substantial. When I add barley to a soup, it helps to create that feeling of something more satiating. This particular recipe uses pearl barley, which technically isn’t a whole grain. You could replace it with hulled barley, which will require another twenty minutes–give or take–to cook.
Hulled barley, with pot barley (aka barley groats) a close second, is packed with fibre and all sorts of goodness: protein, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Pearl barley does have more of the bran rubbed off, which decreases its fibre content; but because the fibre is contained throughout the grain, it still offers a good proportion.* Barley is an incomplete protein, but when paired with its complement, lentils, you can get your complete protein if you’re vegetarian, vegan, or looking for meatless alternatives.**
Some fun barley facts* from the Whole Grains Council website:
- Barley is one of the oldest cultivated grains.
- Egyptians buried mummies with necklaces of barley
- In 1324 Edward II of England standardized the inch as equal to “three grains of barley, dry and round, placed end to end lengthwise.”
- It is a highly-adaptable crop, growing north of the Arctic circle and as far south as Ethiopia.
- The fibre in barley may lower cholesterol even more effectively than oat fibre
Make this recipe for nourishing chicken barley soup as your go-to-flu-time-pick-me-up. No need to cook the chicken especially for this soup. Just use whatever leftovers you have: thighs, breast meat, or whole deli chicken leftovers. If you don’t have leftover chicken, you can absolutely cook your favourite cut for this. Cook it in the pot you’ll use for your soup for less cleanup. Boil, poach or ‘fry’…doesn’t matter. Just make sure you save the liquid or deglaze your pan for extra flavour in your soup!
Chicken Barley Soup
Due to the longer cook time for barley, you’ll want to get this cooking while you prepare your other ingredients.
In a large pot, bring to a boil:
- 8 cups chicken broth, homemade or store-bought
- 1/2 cup barley, rinsed
Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for twenty minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare vegetables:
- 4 carrots, sliced
- 3 ribs celery, sliced
- 2 onions, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon each of: celery salt, sage, thyme, marjoram, rosemary, summer savoury
- pinch nutmeg
- bay leaf
- salt and pepper to taste
Add to pot and cook twenty more minutes.
Add leftover cubed, cooked chicken. (Again…this can be whatever you prefer: thighs, breasts, meat from a deli chicken…whatever. Just use what you have!) Heat until meat is warmed up. If you have things to do, go ahead and add this with the veggies, if you’d like.
Dish out a generous bowlful–or cupful. Inhale. Snuggle under a cozy throw. Turn on Netflix. Enjoy and feel the healing warmth penetrate your achy bones and soothe your soul.
Looking for more inspiration? Join me over here:
Home Matters #221 at Life with Lorelai
Friendship Friday Blog Hop #367 at Create with Joy
Inspire Me Monday at Create with Joy
Hearth and Soul Link Party at April J. Harris
You’re the Star Blog Hop at Kippi at Home
Friday Features Linky Party at Oh My Heartsie Girl