Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 2.5-4 hours
1-2 tbsp olive oil
3-4 carrots (peeled and chopped finely, I use the mandolin!)
3-4 celery sticks (chopped finely)
1 onion (I use smaller onions. chopped finely)
900mL carton of chicken broth
4 - 8 cups of water (more water if you add more barley)
1/2 tsp of oregano
1/2 tsp of rosemary
2-5 bay leaves
2 tsp of dill (I love dill, I probably put up to 6 tsp of dill sometimes)
Chicken carcass *** I use AT LEAST one chicken carcass. We eat chicken legs a lot, so I will throw 2-5 chicken legs, often one or two will have all the meat still on it. I freeze all the chicken, and throw it into the pot frozen. Sometimes there are two carcasses in there. The more the merrier!***
1 cup of Barley (add more water or stock if you want to use more, I always put TONS of barley, so I need more liquid) *Don't forget to rinse barley twice before throwing it in the pot*
Tomatoes (sometimes I freeze baby tomatoes if they get a little soft, then I toss them into the soup)
Kale (as much as you want, add in the last 15 minutes of simmering your soup, it doesn't take long to cook)
Potatoes (as much as you want, you could take out the barley, and use potatoes or neither!)
Set pan to medium with olive oil for a couple minutes. Toss in carrots, celery and onion for 3-5 minutes (or until onions are more translucent) with a bit of salt and pepper. Add Stock or water. I have tried without stock, and used just water, 3+ bay leaves, and added more salt and pepper. For the soup I made today, I used one carton of stock, and then the rest water. I have also used 2-3 cartons of stock and no water, and I have used no stock too. Try whatever feels right. Add oregano, rosemary, bay leaves, and dill. Throw in frozen chicken carcass/bones, bring to a boil, then drop it back to low. Cover and cook on low for an hour. Add barley, and cook on low/simmer and cover for another 1-2 hours. The longer you simmer, the better. I haven't gone more than 4 hours, but don't rush the soup! Once the barley looks full, the fats are becoming clear and rising to the top, then its time to DE-BONE! Some people will love this part. I am one of those weirdos. It can take a long time depending on the chicken. I keep my soup on simmer, and gently take any chicken meat off the bone to leave in the soup, and any bones/cartilage/skin/mysteries, I toss. Add more salt and pepper. Depending on how much stock you added, you may need a fair bit of salt to make it right - again do what tastes/feels good to you.
Boom! You made soup!
Good job! I think the trick is to play around with ingredients, sometimes I keep it really simple and use just salt, pepper and dill, but every soup is slightly different - totally healthy and tasty. Always great to 'repurpose' your chicken carcass too! Something I used to throw out, is now so valuable. Also full chickens and chicken legs are the most affordable part of the chicken - not to mention super nutritious.