White Chicken Barley Soup
Now it sounds ridiculous to call this white chicken soup, but bear with me. I was expanding, if you will, on an idea I found in Michel Montignac's Food Lover's Diet. (Why was I even reading this book? I blame Jeffery Steingarten) The recipe section contains many gorgeous pictures of food that seem as far from a diet as you could imagine, and one of the soups caught my attention.
The instructions were clear that this was to use a "white chicken stock" and ensure that no carrots were included. Carrots are a staple of my chicken stock, as are onions, celery and leek. As I read further, it became clear that the lusciousness of the soup lay in the pour in of 600ml of good cream. I love cream. Simply adore it. But if I am going to eat even a portion of 600ml of it, it will be in creme brulee or caramel. A stunning chocolate mousse or truffles. NOT SOUP. Sorry.
But this gave me an idea, to drop the carrots from my current soup. I was pleasantly surprised. It gave this old favourite a slightly new kick and you certainly couldn't tell that anything was missing. I threw in some pearl barley as well but it was a simple soup of green and white. Curled up in front of the new season of Survivor, who could ask for anything more?
Recipe White Chicken Barley Soup
3 leeks, white part only
2 medium onions
Half a head of celery
I had a tray of chicken wings in the fridge, so I put those in the stock pot with a little olive oil first. Browned slightly and then added the sliced vegetables. Covered with water and brought up the boil very slowly. Simmer for an hour or so.
I then scooped the wings out and let them cool (they were fried quickly the next night and enjoyed with satay sauce). In went a whole chicken, cut into 10 pieces by my darling chicken man, and about a cup of organic pearl barley. Simmered for about an hour (you can take the breast parts out earlier if you are fussy about them overcooking). Salt, stir, serve.