Dig out your pressure cooker and get ready for the cooler weather with this healthy recipe for Barley Soup with chicken, sausage, mushrooms and leeks

Ingredients
For the homemade chicken broth (makes 6 cups):
5-6 large boneless, skinless chicken thighs (at least 1.15kg total)
1 carrot, cut in half
1 stalk celery, cut in half
1 small onion, cut in half (leave the skin on)
1 bay leaf
6 black peppercorns

For the barley soup:
2 tsp olive oil
225g chicken sausage, your favorite pre-cooked type (I like garlic and onion, or spinach and fontina; you could also use spicy chicken sausage), diced
1 medium leek, trimmed and diced
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/4 cup chopped celery
2 carrots, trimmed and diced
225g sliced mushrooms (I like cremini)
1 Tbsp dried thyme leaf
1 cup pearl barley, rinsed and drained
6 cups chicken broth (homemade)
1-2 Tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce, to taste
1/2 tsp fresh black pepper, or more to taste
2-3 cups chopped cooked chicken (from making the broth)

How to
In the pressure cooker, place all of the ingredients for the homemade chicken broth. Add 6 cups of water. Lock the top, and set the cooker to High Pressure for 20 minutes. Use Natural Pressure Release. When the pressure valve drops, carefully lift the cover of the pressure cooker, and remove the chicken pieces to a bowl. Discard the vegetables. Strain the broth into a large measuring cup or bowl, and set aside.

Wash and dry the pressure cooker.

Set the cooker to Browning, and add the 2 teaspoons of olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the chicken sausage, leek, celery, carrots and mushrooms. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are translucent and the mushrooms have given off some of their liquid, 3-4 minutes. Add the thyme, and stir until the mixture is fragrant (2-3 minutes). Add the barley and chicken broth. Turn off the cooker.

Lock the lid in place. Set the pressure cooker to High Pressure for 10 minutes. When the cooker beeps at the end of the cook time, use the Natural Pressure Release method, which will release the pressure in approximately 20 minutes.

When the pressure is released, open the lid carefully, and stir in the chopped chicken, soy sauce and black pepper. Pour the soup into individual serving bowls, and serve hot. Or, pack into freezer-safe containers. Let the soup cool completely before freezing.

Note: if you refrigerate or freeze the soup, you might need to add some water when you reheat it, as the barley will absorb most of the chicken broth.

Recipe provided by The Perfect Pantry.
All text and photographs copyright Lydia Walshin 2006-2010 – licensed under Creative Commons.

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