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Green Chicken Barley Soup

Updated on November 25, 2013

Seasonal Illness?

Is it cold and flu season again? I never pay attention to these "seasonal" illnesses, because usually, I don't get whatever bug is floating around. I have a tendency to jump on the slightest bit of sinus drainage/irritated throat symptoms I may encounter, in an effort to cut any wannabe virus off at the pass.

Mom, however, did not practise this particular habit of mine; at least, not recently. She overlooked a bit of sniffle, which has now turned into a full blown flu. I called her this morning, because normally, we meet up on Friday nights for a family bible study, and I wanted to check on her, as well as find out if I could come a bit earlier.

I wanted her to do my hair, which has been driving me nuts. Instead though, she told me she was sick and did not want us to come because she did not want to pass it to us. I asked if she needed anything, and she said she did need some orange juice and aspirin. I told her I'd be by later with the things she needed.

Coming To The Rescue.

Do you cook some type of chicken based soup when people you know are sick with the flu?

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Coming To The Rescue

I decided to make her a chicken noodle soup. However, I discovered that I had no noodles. I was going to go to the store, when I noticed a new package of barley sitting in my cupboard. I decided to use that instead, and flip the script on the typical chicken noodle soup.

After all, my previous experiment with chicken noodle soup had scored big. Why not change it up and be creative? Plus, in all honesty, I just didn't want to spend any additional money if I didn't have to. Since I've been making more effort to be health conscious in my food choices, as well as juicing; I decided to pack this soup with veggies, just like I did my previous chicken noodle concoctions. It proved to be a very good idea.


  • 3-4 shakes Sea salt
  • 2 Maggi bouillon cubes, Chicken flavor
  • 1/2 packet Collard greens, frozen, chopped
  • 1-2 cups Kale, frozen, chopped
  • 6-12 Red potatoes, medium small, quartered
  • 1-2 cups Baby carrots, smallest in pack
  • 1/2-1 cup Garlic pegs, whole, peeled
  • 6 Chicken wings, halved
  • 3 1/4 cups Barley

Cook Time

Prep time: 1 hour
Cook time: 1 hour 30 min
Ready in: 2 hours 30 min
Yields: 8-12 bowls of soup
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  1. To prep: Clean chicken wings, removing any feathers or excess hairs. Pour vinegar over them after washing and cut in half. Wash potatoes and quarter them. Sort your baby carrots, pulling out the smallest to medium ones in the package and wash. Peel garlic pegs if needed, and cut off the ends. I used pre-peeled garlic, but there was still some flaky skin I had to peel off. Fill an 8 quart pressure cooker 3/4 full with water. Take your salt shaker and shake 3-4 shakes of salt into the water. Start with the flame on high to get it to a quick boil.
  2. Throw in the greens, potatoes and garlic pegs. Add both bouillon cubes. Then add the barley and carrots. Last, add the chicken. Put the lid on the pressure cooker and seal it. Let it cook on a medium flame for the time mentioned. You could cook it a bit longer if you want the meat falling off the bones. Once it's done cooking and you've either released the steam, or its cool enough for you to open the pressure cooker; scoop out all the garlic you can find. Put them in a small bowl. Use a fork and mash them up as much as possible, then add some of the liquid from the soup. Mix that mash with the soup liquid and when the consistency is all liquid, pour it back into the soup and mix with a spoon. Then serve making sure that you scoop towards the bottom of the pot to get the barley as well as potatoes into each bowl.

Green Chicken Barley Soup

Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 12
Calories 3185
Calories from Fat639
% Daily Value *
Fat 71 g109%
Saturated fat 16 g80%
Carbohydrates 452 g151%
Sugar 10 g
Protein 131 g262%
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 2907 mg121%
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

Don't Be Deceived

First you should know that the measurements aren't exact. I usually take a big or small handful of the item, like the kale. That was a big handful, so I estimated that it was 1 cup per handful. The garlic was another big handful. So you have some wiggle room with that.

When I first put all the veggies in the pot, I was sampling the soup liquid to make sure it was seasoned enough. At first, the soup had the really strong flavor of the frozen collards. Collard greens do have a strong distinct flavor. I had never considered putting them in a soup before, nor kale for that matter, but I like the results so much, I will probably do this with more soups.

As I was saying, if you are sampling for flavor in the beginning, don't let that strong flavor of collards put you off. As long as you have enough of a salt flavor, which you should from the sea salt and the bouillon cubes; it will be fine. The flavor of the collards will cook off, and the greens and kale will be very soft, nicely accenting the other flavors once the soup is fully cooked.

Should you begin to get a really strong smell coming from the soup pot after an hour or so, it is ok to stop the cooking, release the steam via the steam guard on the top of the lid; or just letting it cool. I don't know if that thing is called a steam guard or not, but if you have a pressure cooker, I'm sure you know what I'm talking about.The remaining steam in the pot will continue to cook the soup, even while its cooling.

If you don't know how to release the steam, don't open the pressure cooker! You will decorate your walls and yourself with hot soup and possibly suffer 2nd or 3rd degree burns. Just wait it out. Let it cool. You just want to ensure that the strong smell is not a sign of anything catching on the bottom of the pot and burning. Otherwise, you can just wait before opening the pot.

I'm not sure if I cooked it for a full 90 minutes, but the barley package says that it takes that long for the barley to cook, so this is why the time to cook is listed that way. However, in a pressure cooker, versus a regular pot, it may only take an hour to cook. Once cooled enough for you to enjoy, you won't want to stop eating it. Mom has called twice to tell me how good it is. I made a big pot of it, and there's only a little left now. Enjoy!


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