Fall. Finally.

After a last-gasp furnace-blast of weather from summer, finally the season succumbed and Fall is upon us. To celebrate this momentous event, I decided to make my trusty chicken and barley soup. The recipe for this originally comes from The Daily Soup Cookbook, and is pretty straightforward; it’s one of my staples, a rare meal I can make without the recipe open in front of me, and it’s crazy good.

I start with a giant heap of mirepoix elements, onions, celery and carrots. I chop the celery and carrots pretty coarsely, and since I think carrots are nature’s candy, I put way more of them in than the original recipe asks for. For this pot of soup I used an entire pound of them. So then I sweat the veggies out in a huge pot, seasoned liberally with kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper, and then I remove them from the pot and drop in my boneless, skinless chicken breast, which has been cut into little pieces. Since I love making enough soup for leftovers, I used almost 2 1/4 pounds of chicken. Once the chicken is browned up nicely, I add the veggies back to the pot and 8-10 cups of chicken stock (I make my own stock, but low-sodium chicken broth works fine here too). Once it comes to a boil, I dump in boatloads of barley. Seriously, tons of it. I don’t measure, but it’s probably about 2 or 3 cups of it, since I like this to be more a porridge than a soup. When I’m using homemade stock, this generally needs some serious seasoning at this point, so I give it a hearty dose of more black pepper and either kosher salt, or, if I’m feeling fancy, sea salt to taste. I let it come back to a gentle boil, then reduce the heat to a nice, low simmer and let it go at it for about an hour, stirring from time to time, until the barley is cooked through. Then I top the pot off with a healthy splash of vermouth and some chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, make sure it’s all up to temperature again, and then I gorge myself.

For this pot of soup, I decided I wanted to go the extra step and make some buttermilk biscuits to go with it. I love buttermilk biscuits, and I often forget how quick and easy they are to make; five extra minutes of work wins me major brownie points with Boomer and Pookie!

Biscuits

So, plated up, this was the most comfy comfort food on earth: butter-slathered biscuits, hot out of the oven, and a big bowl of barley, chicken, carrots and celery and a little broth. (My favorite thing about this soup is that the leftovers are essentially a barley risotto — the barley soaks up all the broth overnight, so it’s a neat, easy thing to take to work for lunch.)

Yum! Soup!

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5 Comments

Filed under Hearty Meals

5 responses to “Fall. Finally.

  1. That looks scrumptious! I need to make more soup.

    Last weekend I was in St. Louis but we stayed with friends who live in a small town in Southern Illinois. The town had a chili cook-off so I tasted three different chilis. The fireman’s chili was the best and I was so tempted to ask for the recipe but figured they wouldn’t give it out.

  2. Ohhh… a chili cook-off! Lucky you! Maybe you can have your friends ask for that recipe, and maybe you could forward it to me! :D (Did it taste like there was something unique in it, or was it just that it was especially delish?)

    I have a tendency to forget how much I love having soup for dinner (and leftovers for lunch). Every time I make it it’s like a revelation.

  3. The Fireman’s chili just tasted especially good. It seemed very simple: meat and red beans. Much thicker and more of a tomato base flavor. The thickness and simplicity of it were the things that I loved about it. Another group had a good one that had more veggies in it so it was a more complex flavor but wasn’t as thick as the Fireman’s chili. I’m conflicted on how I like my chili because on one hand, I loved the Fireman’s chili but I also like being able to include a lot of veggies and make it a bit more nutritional.

  4. Pingback: Lazy Sunday…Yeah, Right « Shots off the Crossbar

  5. Pingback: Breaking Out Of A Rut, Soup-Style « IPB Eats

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