Chicken, barley and vegetable soup

I’m very fussy about the chicken I buy and try to never waste a scrap of it. A roast bird with a little meat on it should be the start of something special, not relegated to unwanted leftovers in the back of the fridge.


1 leftover roast chicken carcass with at one leg intact
4-5 black peppercorns
4 cloves garlic, skin on, smashed
1 large brown onion, skin on, quartered
1 fresh bay leaf
1 vegetable stock cube
120 grams pearl barley
40 ml extra virgin olive oil
1 large brown onion, finely diced
4 large cloves garlic, finely sliced
4 stalks celery, cut lengthways in three and then sliced finely
2 leeks, sliced in rounds
2 carrots, peeled and cut in ½ cm dice
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground fennel
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
3 fresh bay leaves
¼ cabbage, roughly chopped
½ bunch silverbeet, shredded including most of the stem
salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
2 handfuls green beans, cut into 2cm lengths
2 zucchini, cut into 1cm dice


To make the stock, pick all the meat from the carcass and leg. Chop the meat into a small dice and set aside. Place the bones, skin and any jelly and fat into a large pot with the peppercorns, garlic, onion, bay leaf and crumbled stock cube and cover with cold water. Bring to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes.

Strain off the liquid and discard the bones and aromatics, you should have about 1.5-2 litres of liquid.

Simmer the barley for 10 minutes and drain.

In a large saucepan over medium heat, add the oil, onion and garlic and cook for about 4 minutes until softened. Add the celery, leek and carrot and cook over a low to medium heat for about 20 minutes until caramelised. Add the spices, bay leaves, cabbage and silverbeet, season and cook, stirring, for about 10 minutes. Add the beans, zucchini, barley and the stock, bring to the simmer and cook for 20 minutes (adding more water if needed). Stir through the reserved chicken, simmer briefly, adjust the seasoning if necessary and serve.

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