This chicken or turkey soup will really hit the spot after a long rainy work day. Not only do the vegetables and barley make it healthy, but with the fresh thyme and lemon it is light in flavour while still being thick and hearty. The key to the thick texture is to throw your mirepoix (carrots, onions & celery) in the food processor while raw. Sweat it out to develop the flavours then once you add the broth it naturally thickens the soup without a need for any flour or cream.
Chicken, Barley and Thyme Soup Recipe(serves 3)
Roughly chop the vegetables and pulse in a food processor until minced. (I am sure you could also grate them or process through a blender in batches.)
Heat your soup pot to medium and add oil. Pat the chicken legs dry and sprinkle with salt. Add the chicken and fry on each side until golden brown. Remove to a plate and reduce heat to medium low. Pour off any excess fat so there is just a shine on the bottom of the pan.
Add vegetables and sweat for 3 minutes or until fragrant. Add thyme, a pinch of salt, and chili flakes and cook for another minute, add back chicken, cover with 4 cups of liquid (water, or stock and water) making sure chicken is covered, and bring to a gentle simmer. Simmer for 25 minutes (or longer if you need a second glass of wine...).
Add barley and simmer for another 20 minutes. Stir in spinach and adjust seasonings, you will probably want at least a half teaspoon of salt. Cook until spinach is wilted, about 3 minutes. Stir in lemon juice and serve.