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Author Notes: A meal-in-a-bowl style soup but in no way heavy or overly-filling. I am a big fan of barley! My Scottish heritage perhaps? Yes, but also because this little grain packs a mighty nutritional punch, has a lovely nutty taste and doesnʼt occasion that bloated feeling that occurs with many wheaty grains. —Fiona Kirk
- 1 small spring chicken
- 20 cherry tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons light olive oil
- 1 medium onion, peeled and finely sliced
- 4 celery stalks, peeled and finely sliced
- 3 carrots, peeled and diced
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 1.5 liters good chicken stock
- 150 grams barley, rinsed
- 150 grams green split peas, rinsed
- 1 bag fresh spinach leaves, roughly chopped
- sea salt crystals and freshly ground black pepper
- Roast the chicken in a medium oven until cooked through, allow to cool slightly then remove the skin and chop the flesh into bite-sized pieces.
- Roast the cherry tomatoes in a medium oven for around 15 minutes or until they start to caramelise around the edges then remove from the oven and let them cool.
- Warm the oil in a soup pot, add the onion, garlic, celery, carrot, 1 teaspoon sea salt crystals and a few good grindings of black pepper and saute gently over a low heat until just tender - about 10 minutes.
- Add the stock and thyme, stir in the barley and split peas, bring to the boil then reduce the heat, cover and simmer very gently for 25-30 minutes or until the barley and split peas are tender but still have a slight ʻbiteʼ.
- Check the seasoning then add the chicken flesh, the roasted tomatoes and the spinach. Stir everything very gently making sure the tomatoes donʼt break up too much then simmer for a further 5-10 minutes.
- Check the seasoning again and serve.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Spring Chicken