When I first moved to the US, this soup was one of the first things I associated with winter. My stepmother would make a huge pot of tomato chicken soup during the winters in California and it was always the best thing. Especially the next day, when all the flavors would have co-mingled properly. This is my version of that soup, a tomato chicken soup with barley.
One of the things I find interesting about this soup is that the tomato, red pepper and onions are blended in Nigerian style. I never asked my stepmother is this was how the recipe was originally made or this was influenced by marrying into the Nigerian culture. She also tends to make her version of the soup with potatoes. Oh! Those cubes of potatoes would have soaked up so much flavor the next day.
I started making my version of this tomato chicken soup with barley when I lived in Manchester England. It was my first time experiencing a snowy winter. I am not sure how I found barley but this soup is one of the only places I eat barley. I like barley. It is soft on the outside with a bit of a bite in the middle. That’s how I cook my barley.
The thing I like about making this tomato chicken soup with barley is that I can make the barley ahead. In fact, I recommend cooking the barley separately from the broth of the soup. Barley has a lot of starch that would thicken up the soup if cooked in the broth. I prefer to add in my cooked grains of barley into the soup at the last stage.
Tomato Chicken Soup With Barley
- 2 cups Chicken Broth
- 1 can tomato puree
- 1 Red Pepper
- 1 Onion
- 1 bunch Lacinato Kale chopped
- 1 cup barley cooked
- 1/2 cup Mirepoix
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/2 tsp chili flakes
- 1 tbsp Vegetable oil
- Blend the tomato puree, red pepper, chili flakes, onion, and garlic together in food processor until smooth.
- In a large pot, add in the vegetable oil. Heat the oil for a minute or two before adding in the mirepoix. Season with some salt and then cook the mirepoix for about 4-5minutes until soft and translucent.
- Add in the tomato mix into the pot along with the chicken broth. Bring up to boil, then reduce heat and allow it to simmer for about 15 minutes. Stir occasionally.
- Add in the kale and allow that to cook and reduce into the soup for about 5 minutes before adding in the cooked barley. Check that the salt is balanced and adjust is necessary
- Let the soup simmer for a couple minutes before serving.