Tom Kerridge’s chicken and pearl barley soup recipe

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  • Healthy








10 min


1 hr 10 min

Nutrition per portion

Calories 670 kCal 34%

Tom Kerridge's chicken and pearl barley soup is so easy to make. The pearl barley adds a lovely bite to each spoonful and the chicken gives it plenty of flavour too.

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Bursting with flavour, this hearty soup is great for beating the winter cold. It’s a healthy option too packed with plenty of veg and tender pieces of chicken too. Tom Kerridge says; ‘When it’s chilly outside, make a big batch of this warming soup for a comforting supper, or take it to work in a flask for an easy lunch. Dried mushrooms lend lots of flavour here. They are a great store-cupboard ingredient to have on hand for pepping up soups, pasta sauces, stews and casseroles.’


  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
  • 4 celery sticks, diced
  • 2 courgettes, diced
  • 2 leeks, trimmed, well washed and diced
  • 2 litres fresh chicken stock
  • 1 litre water
  • A bunch of thyme sprigs, tied with string
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 250g pearl barley
  • 40g dried porcini mushrooms
  • 1.5kg free-range whole chicken, spatchcocked or quartered, skin removed
  • 200g cavolo nero, tough stalks removed, chopped roughly
  • 250g frozen peas
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, to drizzle
  • 30g Parmesan, freshly grated, to serve (optional)


  • Heat the olive oil in a large flameproof casserole dish over a medium-high heat. Add the onion and carrots and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes. Add the garlic, celery, courgettes and leeks and cook for a further 5 minutes, or until softened.

  • Pour in the chicken stock and water and add the thyme, bay leaves, pearl barley and dried porcini. Stir and bring to a gentle simmer.

  • Lay the chicken in the casserole, season generously with pepper and simmer gently for 1 hour, turning the chicken over halfway through cooking.

  • Lift the chicken out of the broth onto a plate and allow to cool a little. Remove and discard the thyme and bay leaves from the broth. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bone and shred into bite-sized pieces.

  • Bring the broth back to a simmer and stir in the cavolo nero and peas. Cook for 2 minutes, then return the chicken to the soup and stir well. Taste to check the seasoning and add salt and pepper if needed.

  • Ladle into warmed bowls and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Best served with grated Parmesan.


    This recipe was taken from Tom Kerridge’s Fresh Start: How to cook amazing food at home

Top tip for making Tom Kerridge’s chicken and pearl barley soup

To freeze: Allow to cool, then freeze in two-portion containers. Defrost fully in the fridge overnight, then reheat in a saucepan over a medium heat, until hot all the way through.

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