Swiss barley soup

Chicken, 400pp.
recipes selected by Jonnie Legér
Transatlantic Press, United Kingdom, 2011
Cooking on page 32

This cookbook came home one day with Graeme, who lives in the flat at our house. He’s the saint who minds our house, beasts and garden when we’re off on our travels, but is quite pleased when we’re home because I do a lot of the cooking. He never knows what’s for dinner.

He also likes the idea of cooking on page 32, so picked up two Food Lovers’ cookbooks for $10. I’ve cooked on page 32 in both books and this one was first. The other one was a sensational hot and sour shrimp soup.

Swiss barley soup
1 tbsp butter
2 carrots, peeled and finely diced
3/4 cup / 125 g celery root (celeriac), peeled and finely chopped
2 potatoes, peeled and finely chopped
2 leeks, finely sliced
4–5 Savoy cabbage leaves, finely sliced, plus some to garnish
scant 1/2 cup / 80 g barley
1 onion
1 bay leaf
1 clove
8 cup / 2 litres chicken broth (stock)
salt and freshly milled pepper
approx 12 oz / 350 g chicken legs or thighs
4 oz / 125 g smoked bacon, chopped
4 oz / 125 g smoked pork, chopped into bite-size pieces

Heat the butter in a large saucepan. Fry the vegetables in the butter, add the barley and sauté.

Meanwhile, peel the onion and push the clove and bay leaf into it. Pour the chicken broth (stock) into the vegetables and season with salt and pepper. Add the onion, chicken, bacon and pork, cover and simmer for about 2 hours. Remove the chicken and onion from the pan. Cut the chicken meat away from the bone and return the meat to the soup. Discard the onion.

Season to taste and serve garnished with strips of Savoy cabbage.

How it played out
Ingredients and cooking times were the challenges here, but not big issues.

I went to five supermarkets and green grocers before I gave up looking for celeriac. No worries. I substituted with two celery sticks and a 1/2 teaspoon of celery seed.

Smoked bacon and pork also proved elusive, so I used 125 grams of lean bacon, 125 grams of double smoked ham and 125 grams of smoked bacon bones. For chicken, I used skinless, boneless thighs that I trimmed of fat and diced before cooking.

I pushed the clove and bay leaf into the onion (not so easy with a leaf), but both floated out during the cooking. I fished out the leaf, but never found the clove. Fished out the bacon bones too.

Oh, and the timing. I couldn’t imagine simmering this for 2 hours, so turned it off after 40–50 minutes, which was plenty. I garnished with snipped chives from the garden.

Good thing this was on page 32. I mightn’t have tried it otherwise.

It’s smoky depth of flavour and medley of veggies, barley and smoked meats make it truly delicious. A real winner, and sure to make an appearance as winter approaches in Australia.

If this is an indication of the calibre of the recipes in this book, I’ll be cooking from plenty of other pages.


About leggypeggy

Intrepid overland traveller, keen photographer, avid cook—known to jump out of airplanes and do other silly things. Do not act my age.
This entry was posted in Meat, Poultry, Stew/soup, Vegetable and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to Swiss barley soup

  1. Robert Henderson says:

    I’ve found celariac plenty of times in Canberra but maybe it is seasonal. Franly, two sticks of celary would do much the same. But the root is a bit different and celeriac mash is delicious. so maybe it would have added a thickening to the soup.

    • leggypeggy says:

      Thanks Robert. I’ve seen celeriac before, but it must be very seasonal. The green grocer said he gets it ‘sometimes’, but it wasn’t be be found over the two days I was searching. Didn’t matter though, the soup was fantastic and plenty thick. Plus, I was reminded how much I like barley.

  2. Gary Walker says:

    I’m a barley lover, too. Although, it seems everyone I’ve ever dated doesn’t so I rarely cooked it . It is more traditional in the US for barley to be prepared in hearty beef and vegetable stews, but my favorite way is with braised oxtails. Fine winter comfort food.

    Perhaps when you and PJ visit this summer we can a find a page 32 dish in one of my books to add to your wonderful blog. Talk soon…

    • leggypeggy says:

      That would be fantastic. You’d better started checking out your page 32s now!

      • Gary Walker says:

        I was at a yard sale yesterday afternoon and the day was nearly over so they were GIVING things away for pennies so that they didn’t have to be bothered with packing it back to their garage. They had dozens of cookbooks they offered me for free if I would just haul them away. LOL.

        I have very limited space in my kitchen and no room to store them so I passed on bringing them home. I was heartbroken, though. I’m very cheap/frugal and rarely pass on anything free. I’ll manage with the ones I have.

      • leggypeggy says:

        I can deal with you passing on the cookbooks, but you didn’t rip out all the page 32s?

      • Gary Walker says:

        Ha! I should have ripped them. I doubt they would have cared. LOL

        Talk to you soon. Regards to Poor John.

      • leggypeggy says:

        Sounds good. July isn’t far off now.

  3. skippersy says:


    As I type I am eating my version of the above Swiss Barley Soup! What a wholesome and tasty soup… 5 stars! Being single, I often have to half a recipe like I did with this one. I also, like to vary it according to my taste and available ingredients. So I found some nice already cooked pork chops in the supermarket and use this instead of chicken. I removed the pork meat from the bone and cut up into small pieces. I also, used two slices of bacon as well. Plus I had never tried celery root (celeriac) (it had a nice celery smell)… and easy to find here. I also cut up the onion and did not need to remove the whole one as the recipe stated. Oh, I love barley so that added to this nice soup and medley of vegetables. Finally, 45 minutes was good enough for simmering this hearty soup!

    Sy S.

    • leggypeggy says:

      Oh wow, Sy, I’m so thrilled you tried this recipe and that you liked it as much as we did. Lucky you to find celeriac. I’m still on the lookout. It’s nice too that the meat component is flexible. I can imagine tossing in leftover bits of a roast.
      As an aside, thanks so much for pointing out that the ‘follow this blog’ option was hard to find. I moved it to a better spot.

  4. skippersy says:

    P.S. Had my third bowl of this soup…. being single and even with halving the recipe I have to eat the same dish over a three day period (I had about 4 servings). And since I live in an apartment, the freezer is small, so don’t freeze foods for future consumption.
    P.S. #2- Next time I will cook the two slabs of bacon prior to adding it to the pot. I also would add some more stock, since the finished dish was not to soupy.. but more of a meal. And like LeggyPeggy said you can easily add left over foods as well. However, next time I will try it with chicken, since that was the theme of the book and part of this recipe.

    Sy S.

    • leggypeggy says:

      Oh gosh, Sy, your comment made me laugh—how could I forget that the title of the book is ‘Chicken’. I can’t remember if I added more stock, but I often do depending on how many hangers-on turn up hoping for a meal. 🙂
      Off now to find another page-32 recipe to make.

  5. skippersy says:

    I have a cold and some chicken soup would be nice… Hummmm, how about some Swiss Barley Soup! I had about 1 1/2 servings left of this soup. So I went to the supermarket and bought four thighs and cooked them in some chicken broth. Then de-boned, added some crisp bacon and then re-heated my Swiss Barley Soup and with the extra chicken broth. Actually, the soup was better with the chicken and being re-heated! So I am raising my rating to 5 stars for this recipe.

    Yodeling Away Now,

    Sy S.

    • leggypeggy says:

      Oh Sy, I’m so sorry to hear you aren’t feeling well, but very glad to know the chicken version of this soup was comforting. Rumour has it that chicken soup cures everything. Right? 🙂 Hope you are on the mend.

  6. Beth says:

    mmmm i love barley soup….

  7. Pingback: Hot and sour shrimp soup | What's cooking on page 32

  8. Pingback: Brown rice and lentils, dried cranberries and roasted carrots | What's cooking on page 32

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s