I know that the thought of diving into a piping hot mug of chicken soup in the middle of August may be a bit unappealing, with temperatures outside tickling the 100 mark. However, I am never one to go with the norm. I am far from normal. I am also reminded of a book from my childhood when I cook chicken soup. Because I am who I am and I sat down to write this blog entry about chicken soup, I could not forget to quote the wonderful children's author Maurice Sendak:
In August it will be so hot,
I will become a cooking pot.
Cooking soup of course! Why not?
Cooking once, cooking twice.
Cooking chicken soup with rice.
Alright, I know, but barley just doesn't fit in that poem, so we will have to just take creative license and pretend! Today' I am sharing a very fast chicken soup with barley. This is really made from what you may already have in your fridge and pantry. If you don't have these things, you should. Really basic stuff that you can use to throw together a great soup when you have some chicken left over from Sunday dinner, or from that rotisserie chicken you picked up at the store last week, but don't have enough to feed the whole family with. You could, in a pinch even use a can of white meat chicken, drained. I am not adverse to using chicken from a can as long as we use other fresh ingredients to make the rest of the soup good and wholesome.
Soup is one of the best foods around. You can make anything into a soup. Have leftover chicken? Make chicken soup, or tortilla soup or hot and sour soup. Have left over roast beef, make beef barley soup, or Italian beef and tomato soup. You can even make soup from stuff you didn't think you could make soup from. Like the bits and pieces in your produce drawer. Don't throw them away, make them into a wonderful veggie soup. Whaz it all up with your immersion blender or in your blender, add a little cream or milk and you will have a lovely creamy vegetable bisque.
Soup feeds the stomach and feeds the soul. Paired with a hearty loaf or biscuits or crackers, soup is a staple that I find myself falling back on over and over again. Soup is filling and fulfilling. It makes you feel satisfied, it makes you feel loved. It can be eaten with a spoon or sipped from a mug. It can warm you up or cool you down, depending on what you choose to make. You can have chicken soup in the dead of winter or you can have gazpacho in the middle of July. You can have soup in times of plenty or in times of want. For instance a big pot of bean soup will feed lots of people with little to no meat and you can share it for days or you can put on the Ritz and pull out the silver and good china and serve Vichyssoise (cold creamy potato soup). I have my Aunt Linda to thank for my first taste of that silky deliciousness.
Soup is a part of who we are as people. There is not a culture on the face of the earth that does not have a soup associated with it. I think because soup was always a way of stretching the food budget, and if you think about it, probably one of the earliest ways of feeding a cave-person family. Once they figured out fire that is. I also am reminded of another story of my childhood that I still read every Thanksgiving Stone Soup. A great story or fable about how individually we can do great things but together we can move mountains, or for that matter, make soup! So with that here is how you make Quick Chicken Barley Soup:
Quick Chicken Barley Soup
Here is what you will need to make this soup:
2 cups cooked chicken
5 stalks celery chopped
1 medium onion chopped
2 cloves garlic chopped
1 cup carrots finely chopped
2 cartons chicken stock
4 cups water
4 bullion cubes or enough granulated bullion to make 4 cups
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon Mrs. Dash
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 cup quick barley
Salt and pepper to taste
In a stock pot heat oil. Add onion and garlic and cook until you can smell garlic. Add in celery and carrot and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add in dried spices and stir to combine. Add in 4 cups of prepared bullion along with 1 whole carton of chicken stop and 1/2 of the additional carton. Add chicken and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer, and add in barley. Cook covered for 5 minutes or until the barley has cooked completely. Quick barley should only take about 5 minutes to be done. Taste your broth and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with bread or biscuits or along side a sandwich or salad and you have a complete meal.
I hope you try this and I hope you enjoy it.
Until next time.....................................See Ya!