Hearty chicken, barley & vegetable


  • 1 cup pearl barley, soaked overnight, then drained and rinsed
  • 1 bunch Dutch or heirloom carrots
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra
  • 1 leek (white part only), finely chopped
  • 1 brown onion, finely diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, diced
  •  2 tbsp mirin or a splash of white wine
  • 6 cups homemade stock (either vegetable or chicken)
  • 4 cups shredded kale or silverbeet
  • 8 medium mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 chicken breasts, diced into chunks
  • freshly ground salt and pepper, to taste
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
Note: You can also throw in some thyme and a couple of bay leaves. I didn’t have any, so went without. It was still delicious though!


Preheat oven to 180ºC and lightly oil carrots before roasting for 30 minutes. Once cool enough to handle, slice into 1 cm-thick rounds and set aside.

Next, heat the oil in a large heavy-based pot. Sweat the onions, leek, garlic and celery for about 10 minutes.

Then add the pearl barley and stir continually as you sauté for a couple of minutes.

Add the mirin (or white wine), and once it has evaporated, add the stock. Turn down the heat to a gentle simmer and check periodically to make sure there’s enough stock (you could always add some more if needed). I also used a diffuser so that the barley doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot. The pearl barley will take an hour or so to cook. Longer if you’re using organic pearl barley.

Once the barley is cooked (I check by tasting it), add the mushroom, chicken and kale. Simmer for another 10 minutes to make sure the chicken is cooked, then stir through the carrots and lemon juice, and season to taste.

6 thoughts on “Hearty chicken, barley & vegetable”

  1. Totally agree with your cooking philosophy. The soup/ casserole option is so easy in winter – make it on the weekend and you have a couple of meals for the week ahead. Wanted to ask you what is a diffuser?

    1. Hey Qeenotisblue, I’ve added a link for the diffuser now. It’s basically a flat, round utensil that you place between the stovetop and the pot. It helps to distribute the heat evenly, and to reduce the chances of food burning or sticking to the pot. It’s good for when you have to simmer things for a long time. Click on the link in the post and have a read for more details 🙂

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