Sunday, February 7, 2010
Dark Days Challenge week 12 - Chicken barley soup
We are both having colds here Chez Green Leanings, and we've just had a blizzard... so clearly, dinner is soup! Soup is one of those things I cannot in good conscience buy (unless it is at a favorite restaurant, of course!) It is just too easy to make, and really requires very few ingredients.
This week's soup was chicken barley, and it contained local chicken thighs, chicken stock, hulled barley*, celery, carrots and parsley. Non-local ingredients were shallots and poultry seasoning. As a side dish I served toasted semolina bread doused in butter, garlic, and Ludlow (a semi-hard aged cheese.)
I cooked the barley in chicken stock and a little water (it took about an hour.) I could have just throw everything into the pot together, but since the chicken thighs were bone-in/skin on I cooked them separately in a skillet. I set them aside to cool slightly as I sauteed the chopped carrots, shallot, and celery in the remaining chicken fat. Cooking things in chicken fat makes them extra-tasty! I left them a bit crunchy, as they were going into the pot with the barley. They joined the barley about 15 minutes before the barley was done. Once the chicken breasts had cooled I skinned them, shredded the meat and added it to the barley. I added the bones to the pot as well, since it seemed a shame to waste all that potential flavor. (I could have added them to my bag o' bones in the freezer that I save for making stock, but that was a little too ambitious for me today.) I added the chopped parsley at the very end, and it was the perfect finishing touch.
The chicken and stock came from North Market Poultry and Game at the North Market. Carrots are from Persinger Farms (and were purchased in the fall and stored in my crisper drawer.) Celery is from last year's garden, and was found squirreled away in the corner of my freezer. Bread was from Omega Artisan Baking at the North Market. Butter is from Hartzler's Dairy. Garlic is from H-W Organic farms. Cheese is from Blue Jacket Dairy.
*The barley came from a local Amish farm called Stutzman Farms. I *think* they grew it (my area of Ohio is in the range for commercial barley farming) but I'm not 100% sure. They do mill some non-local grains in addition to the wide range of grains that they grow. So I will describe this barley as "local as possible," because if anyone grows it in Ohio, it's Stutzman.