Chicken-Barley Soup

Chicken-Barley Soup

Chicken-Barley Soup


Makes 6 servings


6 cups cold water
1-1/2 pounds chicken thighs, skinned
2 medium stalks celery, sliced
2 medium carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
1 small leek, sliced
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram leaves
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried summer savory leaves
1 herb bouquet*
1/3 cup quick-cooking barley
3 cups fresh spinach (loosely packed), chopped
1/4 small red bell pepper, cut into matchsticks
Celery leaves (optional)

*Use any combination of herbs and spices, such as parsley stems, thyme sprigs, peppercorns, whole cloves, bay leaves and garlic cloves for herb bouquet. Wrap small bundle in cheesecloth and tie with string.


  1. Place water, chicken, celery, carrots, leek, salt, marjoram, black pepper, savory and herb bouquet in 5-quart Dutch oven. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 45 minutes or until chicken is tender.
  2. Remove chicken from soup and let cool slightly. Remove herb bouquet; discard. Skim foam and fat from soup using large spoon. (Or, refrigerate soup several hours and remove fat that rises to surface. Refrigerate chicken if chilling soup to remove fat.)
  3. Add barley to soup. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes or until barley is almost tender. Meanwhile, remove chicken meat from bones; discard bones. Cut chicken into bite-size pieces. Stir chicken, spinach and bell pepper into soup. Simmer 5 minutes or until spinach is wilted, chicken is heated and bell pepper is tender. Season with additional salt and black pepper to taste. Ladle into bowls. Garnish with celery leaves.

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