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meat and fish | Nanny Eve's chicken soup for the soul (and sniffles)

Serves 4

My Gran used to make the most fantastic chicken soup. If ever I felt under the weather as a little girl, this did the trick. Especially if I could eat it snuggled under a thick Welsh wool blanket in my Gran's old leather chair in front of the fire. Sadly, she passed away last year, so I am including this recipe in her honour. However, the legacy of the chicken soup seems to have skipped a generation. When my mum left my dad in charge of some chicken soup when they first got married, she returned to find he'd added the entire packet of pearl barley! I would have loved to have seen that blooper!

Wheat free, dairy free, nut free version...




  1. In a large saucepan, boil the carcass. You make need to snap the legs or wings, or cut it to make it go in.
  2. Cover with water, add the bay leaf and bring to the boil.
  3. Add the onions and simmer for about 1 - 1 ½ hours, skimming the surface of the water if you need to.
  4. Take the bones out, flake off any meat still attached to them and put it back in.
  5. Add the pearl barley and leeks (you may need to rinse the pearl barley. Just check the packet for instructions and timings) and cook for 30-45 minutes, topping up the water if you need to.
  6. Add the potatoes and carrots and cook for another 30 minutes (make sure the total cooking time for the barley is enough).
  7. Remove the bay leaf and serve.
  8. As with most soups and stews, this is better the next day - but it rarely lasts that long in our house.

Maybe serve with...

This is gorgeous served in a bowl, just on its own!

For those able to eat wheat...

Serve with chunks of bread and butter (or dairy-free spread).

If you have leftover carrot, potato, onion and leek, see Nanny Dot's Welsh cawl. If you have carrots and leeks leftover, see the minestrobe soup or perfect pot chicken. If you have leeks and potatoes leftover, see the leek and potato soup. If you have onions, leeks, swede and parsnips leftover, see Shamala's soup or vegetable stock. If you have potato, swede and onions leftover, see the bean chilli or Italian beef stew.

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