This amazing soup will indeed surprise you. It surprised me when my dear friend Janis gave it to me. She doesn’t know who created this mouthwatering, healthy masterpiece, but whoever you are, thank you!
Who would have thunk? Prunes in soup? Trust me, you don’t taste prunes, you taste a richer broth (& you get the benefit of the best colon cleanser to date!) I took a photo of the prunes but worried that they’d scare you away. Instead I chose leeks, I love the variation of green to white. I feel healthier just staring at them.
I make much more than what this recipe calls for – Triple? Maybe more, I don’t measure.
We loved this soup so much I bought a non-reactive, heavy bottomed (to prevent burning) 10 quart stock pot.
I like to keep a pot of or a casserole of or a sauce of something ready-made if I don’t feel like making a meal from scratch. Leftovers around here are eaten any time of day including breakfast.
The measurements below are much less than what I use. You choose. Meantime, if you’re interested, next time you go grocery shopping, print this out and pick up these ingredients.
By the way, first day you’ll make the rich chicken stock. Here are those ingredients and here we go!
1 – 3 ½ lb. whole chicken (see below before going shopping)
1 pound peeled onions, trimmed and cut into eights (see below, oh forget it, see below for everything listed)
2 celery ribs, coarsely chopped
1 large carrot, rough chopped
2 cloves garlic, mashed and minced
1 ½ quarts chicken stock – canned or box ( I buy boxes of free range or organic chicken stock by the case at Cosco (if you’re brave enough to handle the chaos). They sell organic chicken stock in 1 quart boxes by the case at a very reasonable price)
2 c. dry white wine
You can start here and by the time this step is cooked, refrigerated overnight, fat skimmed, chicken shredded and the stock strained, you’ll be ready to put this all together.
Here’s how you make the Rich chicken stock~
1. Bring all ingredients to a boil in a large stockpot. Lower heat, cover partially and simmer, skimming occasionally for 1 hour. (since I use more than one chicken, I simmer for about 2 plus hours. I also add peppercorns, bay leafs, parsley and sometimes I throw in a chopped yam, parsnip, turnip, whatever is in the veggie bin. Well, not lettuce, cucumbers, beets, etc. Think soup stock and grab what looks good to you.
2. Remove chicken. Cool and shred.
3. Strain stock -this will last for up to three days or you can make a whopping batch & freeze for another soup or this one at a later time.
Keep plenty of boxes chicken stock on hand if you’re making a larger amount. Just be sure you have a good amount of stock simmering. Once you throw everything in, you’ll see how much more boxed stock to add.
The above ingredients are for the rich chicken stock only. If you want to buy everything at once, add to your shopping list: Again, read below the ingredients if you’re doubling or tripling.
3 T. Unsalted butter
3 lbs. leeks, white & tender green parts, split lengthwise, cut crosswise ½” pieces
2/3 c. medium pearl barley
Rich chicken stock and shredded chicken (you’ve already made this)
12 whole pitted prunes, quartered, or if they’re very big prunes, chop fine into bits.
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 T. coarsely chopped flat leaf parsley
With the exception of what can go bad and it looks like parsley is the only fresh food that could possibly be wasted I buy everything in bulk.
With this recipe for example:
I use two whole free range or organic chickens
I don’t measure pounds of leeks. I stuff two plastic produce bags full and consider that the amount.
Onions, celery, carrots, garlic, prunes and barley are considered staples in my kitchen. I buy in bulk since I use more of everything, no matter what the recipe reads.
Now that you have your stock and chicken shredded, let’s put this soup together.
Melt the butter (how much depends whether you are doing what I did, tripling it, or if you followed the exact ingredients listed.
Melt butter in a large, heavy non-reactive saucepan.
Add the leeks and cook over moderate heat, stirring frequently for about 10-12 minutes or until they’re translucent (I cook them longer. I like the almost golden but not burned look). Add the barley and cook stirring frequently for about 30 minutes.
Add the rich chicken stock and prunes to the pan; season with S & P.
At this point, you’ll know if the pot needs an extra box or more of stock.
Bring to a boil then lower to a slow simmer. Cover and simmer for at least 30 minutes. I simmer everything longer for a richer flavor.
Add the shredded chicken to the soup and cook until heated through. Adjust seasonings.
Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with parsley.
Note- The batch I just made left me with too many leeks and more chicken than I wanted to add to the soup. I’m going to make a chicken salad with red grapes and the leftover celery and a quick leek and potato soup.
I used four extra boxes of chicken stock, the soup just kept growing. Not measuring comes with a small price. I don’t like running to the store for odds and ends. If you follow my recipes, know that it’s best to always keep many boxes of free range or organic stock on hand. Beef, Vegetable and Chicken. Trust me, you’ll use it. The expiration date gives you months. No worries there.
This is a very delicious soup and worth your time, although more time is spent without your help. The simmering, the refrigerating, etc.
I now have a week’s worth of this luscious soup which most likely will be eaten within a few days.