Soup to warm your insides – Chicken Barley Soup

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I’ve been seeing an acupuncturist who has advised that to help the implantation process it’s important to keep your uterus warm. Given that my uterus is snugly tucked up by the digestive organs, I thought it would already be pretty warm, but – so my acupuncturist has told me – cold drinks, frozen food and raw vegetables and fruits can cool it down so there is less blood flow, and it is harder for the egg to attach.

Over the last few months I’ve been trying to eat more warming foods, like soups, stews and curries, and drinking warm or hot drinks to make it feel like my uterus is wrapped up in a blanket with a cup of hot cocoa in front of a roaring fire, so I thought I would share this yummy soup recipe.

Chicken barley soup is one of my favourite dishes from when I was a kid. My mum would make it if you even started to have a sniffle, so it reminds me of being looked after. I’ve adapted her recipe by making the chicken broth, rather than using a stock cube (sorry mum!), but the one ingredient I won’t sacrifice is the marmite! You just stir a teaspoon in to your own bowl when you’re ready to eat it, but it makes all the difference!

Serves 6


For chicken broth

  • 1 carrot, quartered
  • 1 onion, quarteredFullSizeRender-12
  • 6-7 cloves of garlic, bottoms sliced off
  • 15 peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 leek, quartered
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley
  • 8-9 sprigs fresh thyme
  • Good grinding of sea salt
  • 1.5-1.8kg chicken, cut in to portions with skin on
  • 2.5 litres water

For soup

  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 leek, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 spring onions, chopped
  • ½ inch ginger, peeled and cut into three large chunks so you can remove later
  • 3-4 sprigs of thyme
  • 1 potato, diced
  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • ½ cup frozen peas
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • Splash of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1tbs olive oil

To serve

Marmite to taste


To make the chicken broth

Put all the dry ingredients for the chicken broth in a large pot, and place the chicken on top. Pour the water over then bring to the boil. Once boiling, turn down to a low simmer and cook for 35 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.

Remove the chicken from the water and leave to cool. Pour the remaining liquid into a large bowl, passing through a sieve. Discard the vegetables and bay leaf and keep the chicken broth until you are ready to make your soup. You can also leave this to cool and then freeze if you don’t plan to use it on the same day.

Shred the chicken, removing the skin and bones and put aside until you are ready to make your soup. I actually saved 1.5 cups of the cooked chicken for sandwiches rather than putting it all in the soup, so you don’t have to use all of it.

To make the soup

In a large heavy pot, heat the olive oil and sauté the onion, leek, carrot, ginger and spring onion for about 5 minutes until tender.

Add 2 litres of the chicken broth and thyme and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer, stir in the pearl barley and cook for 15 minutes with the lid on. Season with salt and black pepper. FullSizeRender-12 copy

Add the potatoes and a splash of Worcestershire sauce, and simmer for a further 15 minutes with the lid on.

Add the shredded chicken and peas and cook for another 5 minutes until hot.

Divide into bowls and stir a teaspoon of marmite through each (or do this to suit your taste). Fish the pieces of ginger out when you serve.

If you don’t plan on eating all the soup in one day, save 500ml of the chicken broth to loosen the soup up when you reheat it.

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7 thoughts on “Soup to warm your insides – Chicken Barley Soup

  1. Good luck with your implantation!!! Yes, keep your uterus warm at all time! Take some warming effect spices too like ginger and cardamon is good, add a cardamon pod into your herbal tea. I think tumeric is also good. Check with your acupuncturist. I go to have acupuncture for my hayfever, she shares her tips with me as we are both Chinese living in Switzerland. And here is so cold then is v important to keep oneself warm.


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