chicken-vegetable-barley soup

AJ and I splurged on diner-food for lunch so I thought we should make supper light.  This is a light soup that goes best with fresh baked bread or a salad with a vinaigrette dressing. I prefer to make soup with a home-made chicken broth as the base because home-made is lower in sodium. I used a broth that I had made earlier in the week from three chicken wings, 1  quart water, an onion, celery stalk with leaves, and a carrot. Bring the stock almost to a boil (when you see bubbles forming around the edges) then simmer for 2 hours. If you want a clear broth, it’s important not to boil the stock because impurities and foam will cloud the soup.  However, if it does happen, you can strain the soup. I bought a fine mesh skimmer in Chinatown just for this purpose. It looks like a tiny soup ladle with a mesh strainer instead of a bowl.

Chicken-Vegetable-Barley Soup

5 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup pearl barley
2 small carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1/2 yellow squash
1/2 gray squash or zucchini
1 cup baby lima beans, frozen
1 cup corn niblets, frozen
1/4 of a red onion, sliced thinly
1/2 cup green beans,  chopped in 1” lengths
1 chicken breast, sliced into 1″ bits
Salt and pepper to taste
Dried herbs, e.g. thyme, parsley

In a large pot, heat the broth. Add the pearl barley and bring to a boil. Simmer 10 minutes. Add the carrots and celery; continue simmering for 5 more minutes. Add the remaining vegetables and continue simmering for 5 minutes. Drop the chicken into the soup one at a time and watch it change from pink to white. Add seasoning and herbs to taste. Serve at once.