Kale is one of those vegetables that I know I *should* eat more often, but I never do. It has a little bit of a bitter flavor to it that usually turns me off. I've had it before in soup and enjoyed it, so I decided to try to find another good soup recipe with kale. This recipe had a little bit of everything I was looking for. It's a nice hearty soup, it's healthy, it has things in it I don't think I've ever tried before (fennel bulb and fennel leaves), and it has kale in it. The fresh herbs that you add at the end are a strange combination, but it really comes out tasting great! I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.
Chicken, Barley and Kale Soup
- 3 cups water
- 8 cups low sodium chicken stock or vegetable stock
- 1 cup pearl barley
- 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 pound boneless, chicken breasts, rinsed and dried and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 3 cups chopped onions
- 1 fennel bulb, cored and thinly sliced
- ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
- 1 cup white wine
- 1 bunch kale, stemmed, leaves coarsely chopped
- ½ cup chopped fresh dill
- ½ cup chopped fresh fennel fronds
- 3 Tablespoons chopped fresh mint
- 1 lemon, juiced
- Combine 3 cups water and 2 cups of chicken or vegetable stock. Add barley and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until barley is tender, about 40 minutes.
- While barley cooks, heat olive oil in a large stock pot. Add chicken to pot, browning on all sides. Remove chicken from pot and set aside.
- Add onions, fennel and white pepper to the pot and cook, over medium high heat until onions are browned and fennel is softened, about 10 – 15 minutes.
- Add the wine and stir, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the remaining stock to the pan with the barley and any remaining liquid. (Soup can be made up to this point 1 day ahead – cover and refrigerate).
- Bring stock and barley mixture to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Add the kale and simmer until tender, about 15 minutes.
- Add fennel fronds, dill and mint and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice – taste and adjust seasonings, adding more lemon juice as desired. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Ladle into bowls and serve. Accompany the soup with some good crusty bread and/or a small salad.
I have nothing to add really to this recipe. It was delicious as-is, and I'll definitely be making it again soon.