Chicken Barley Soup
Time: Over 3 hours (you can do other things while it's on the stove!)
2kg chicken bones and carcasses
2 large onions
4 sticks celery
A knob of butter
A bay leaf, thyme stalks and parsley stalks
150g uncooked pearl barley
Pinch of saffron dissolved in 1 tbsp boiling water
A small bunch flat leaf parsley roughly chopped
Crusty bread and butter to serve.
Preheat your oven to 200.
Roast your chicken bones in a hot oven for 25 minutes.
Put the roasted chicken bones in a pot and make sure to scrape off the roasted juices - don't waste a scrap of flavour! Add 2 carrots, 1 onion, 2 celery stalks and 2 leeks all roughly chopped along with your bay leaf, thyme sprigs and parsley stalks. Cover everything with fresh water, add salt and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered for 2 hrs.
Cook the pearl barley in salt water according to your pack instructions.
When the stock has had its time, strain it through a very fine sieve. You want a completely clear soup in the end. Bring the strained stock back to a gentle simmer and bubble away for another hour to concentrate the flavours. Towards the end, taste and adjust the seasoning. You should have a lovely golden stock with a good amount of chicken fat.
While your stock is simmering, finely dice the remaining carrots, onion, celery and leeks, melt a knob of butter in a saucepan and add the vegetables. Sweat on a low heat until soft and mix together with the cooked pearl barley. Keep warm.
To serve, divide the barley mix between bowls, top up with the stock/sou and add a dribble of saffron water and some roughly chopped parsley.
Serve with crusty bread and butter.