Tom Kerridge's chicken and barley soup recipe

(803 ratings)

Tom Kerridge's chicken and pearl barley soup is so easy to make. The pearl barley adds a lovely bite to each spoonful and the chicken gives it plenty of flavour too.

Tom Kerridge's chicken pearl barley soup
(Image credit: Tom Kerridge's Fresh Start)
  • healthy
Preparation Time10 mins
Cooking Time1 hours 10 mins
Cost RangeCheap
Nutrition Per PortionRDA
Calories814 Kcal41%
Sugar12.1 g13%
Fat48.4 g69%
Saturated Fat12.5 g63%
Salt3.32 g
Protein66 g132%
Carbohydrates30.7 g12%
Salt3.32 g

This chicken and barley soup is packed with flavour and the pearl barley makes it a lovely, hearty meal.

Tom Kerridge's soup uses a whole chicken, spatchcocked or quartered. Buying the whole bird is actually one of the cheapest ways to buy chicken, and means there is no wastage. Pearl barley is a lovely versatile grain that keeps you full for a long time and contains lots of fibre, so it's great for a healthy digestion. This is a fantastic soup for cold days when you want something comforting and bolstering. Tom says, 'When it’s chilly outside, make a big batch of this for a comforting supper, or take it to work in a flask for an easy lunch. Dried mushrooms lend lots of flavour here. They are a great store-cupboard ingredient to have on hand for pepping up soups, pasta sauces, stews and casseroles.'


  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
  • 4 celery sticks, diced
  • 2 courgettes, diced
  • 2 leeks, trimmed, well washed and diced
  • 2 litres fresh chicken stock
  • A bunch of thyme sprigs, tied with string
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 250g pearl barley
  • 40g dried porcini mushrooms
  • 1.5kg free-range whole chicken, spatchcocked or quartered, skin removed
  • 200g cavolo nero, tough stalks removed, chopped roughly
  • 250g frozen peas
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, to drizzle
  • 30g Parmesan, freshly grated, to serve (optional)




  1. Heat the olive oil in a large flameproof casserole dish over a medium-high heat. Add the onion and carrots and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes. Add the garlic, celery, courgettes and leeks and cook for a further 5 minutes, or until softened.
  2. Pour in the chicken stock and 1 litre of water and add the thyme, bay leaves, pearl barley and dried porcini. Stir and bring to a gentle simmer.
  3. Lay the chicken in the casserole, season generously with pepper and simmer gently for 1 hour, turning the chicken over halfway through cooking.
  4. Lift the chicken out of the broth onto a plate and allow to cool a little. Remove and discard the thyme and bay leaves from the broth. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bone and shred into bite-sized pieces.
  5. Bring the broth back to a simmer and stir in the cavolo nero and peas. Cook for 2 minutes, then return the chicken to the soup and stir well. Taste to check the seasoning and add salt and pepper if needed.
  6. Ladle into warmed bowls and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Best served with grated Parmesan.   This recipe was taken from Tom Kerridge's Fresh Start: How to cook amazing food at home

Top tips for making chicken and barley soup

To freeze: Allow to cool, then freeze in two-portion containers. Defrost fully in the fridge overnight, then reheat in a saucepan over a medium heat, until hot all the way through.

If you really don't like to waste a thing, you can save the chicken skins and roast them to make chicken crackling. Stretch them out on a non-stick baking tray, cover them with another non-stick baking tray to sandwich them flat, and bake in a medium-hot oven for about 15 minutes. They should turn golden and crisp up beautifully. Use them like crispy bacon.

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Tom Kerridge is a celebrated English Michelin-starred chef who has been dazzling the professional cooking scene since 1991. His French, British, and fusion style cooking has created delicious, much loved recipes over the years that has earned his pubs multiple Michelin stars. Like many other celebrity chefs he’s also explored other creative industries by being a child actor starring in several small television parts, until the age of 18 where he then attended culinary school. In 2005, he and wife Beth Cullen-Kerridge opened their pub The Hand & Flowers, which gained its first Michelin star in its opening year. It then went on to make history by being the first pub to earn a second Michelin star in 2012. His recipes are always packed with delicious, aromatic flavours like his chicken pho recipe, and indulgent smoked pastrami burger are easy crowd pleasers and becoming family favourites. Most recently Tom has opened his first London restaurant in 2018 at Corinthia Hotel London, as well as The Butchers Tap, a butchers and pub all under one roof. His work within television has continued over the years with multiple appearances on shows such as Saturday Kitchen and the Great British Menu, as well as fronting his own series for BBC How to Lose Weight For Good and Top of the Shop. Now you’ll find him presenting Food and Drink which he’s been a part of since 2015.