This soup is a meal in itself. I love the use of barley as opposed to pasta as it does not soak up too much liquid and remains firm to the bite. Making the broth requires a bit more time but is so worth it.
3/4 cup of pearl barley
3 lbs of chicken thighs
12 cups of water
1 tbsp of salt
1 tbsp of thyme leaves
1 bay leaf
2 carrots chopped
2 leeks chopped
2 celery stalks chopped
3 garlic cloves chopped
2 cups of chopped butternut squash
3 cups of chopped kale
Cook barley per instructions on package and make sure to drain under cold water once cooked. Set aside.
In your largest stock pot place the chicken thighs, water and salt and bring to a roaring boil. Add thyme and bay leaf and reduce heat to let simmer for about 1 hour. If you have time, let simmer longer as it intensify the flavor of the broth.
Remove chicken and let cool aside. Add all vegetables except kale and cook for 15 minutes uncovered. Meanwhile, remove meat from chicken thighs and separate in small chunks. Once vegetable are cooks, add chicken and kale to pot and let cook until kale is tender. Incorporate the barley.
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