A Simple Chicken, Pearl Barley & Veggie Stew

Prep Time:15 Mins, Cook Time: 45 Mins, Total Time: 1 Hour

January 8, 2014

Eat Your Veg | Chicken, Pearl Barley & Veggie StewLooking for a family-friendly virtuously healthy stew? Then look no more. After all the excess of Christmas and New Year I’m positively joyous to be back eating more simple meals and my usual barrage of veggies. And you really cannot beat a good old chicken stew, for simplicity, ease and comfort.

While I sometimes like to jazz up a stew or casserole with a few bold flavours, wine or spices it’s also nice to stick with the main ingredients themselves and let them shine. As well as a feast of root veggies I add pearl barley to the pot, a little added nutrition and frugally bulks out the chicken too. A great way of sneaking in some good grain to little tums.

Eat Your Veg | Chicken, Pearl Barley & Vegetable Stew

I used to make this very chicken stew all the time for my two monsters when they were weaning babies and they always devoured it. To make it baby-friendly use baby no-salt stock (available at major chemists) or just water and either blend for younger babies or mush with the back of a fork for older babies who can take a few lumps and bumps.

Now the monsters are 3 and 5 and all grown up they still relish a simple chicken stew but get to make it with me. In truth it’s virtually impossible to keep Jacques out of the kitchen even if I wanted to. His interest in anything foodie is uncanny, always tasting, smelling, stirring, questioning not to mention his near obsession with cutting veggies. It’s all very intriguing.

As ever I’m entering a number of challenges. Firstly to Four Seasons Food, which I run with Anneli, this month I’m hosting and it’s all about January Virtuous Food. To Family Foodies that I also co-host and Vanesther who’s running this month’s event which is wonderfully themed Hidden Goodies of which there are many in this stew. To the new Extra Veg challenge from Fuss Free Flavours and Utterly Scrummy, to which I’m guessing I’ll be making quite a few entries! And finally to Elizabeth’s Kitchen’s Shop Local as my chicken came from local Springfield Poultry, rapeseed oil from Brockmanton Oilsall my veggies from my veg box from Skylark Organics and herbs from my Mum’s garden I think this qualifies!.

Chicken, Pearl Barley & Veggie Stew Challenge Logosjpg

The Good Stuff:

Chicken, Carrots, Parsnips, Onions, Leeks, Garlic, Sweet Potato, Pearl Barley

Great For:

Babies 9-12 months (see above), Toddlers, Pre-Schoolers, Big Kids, Grown Ups, Family Lunches or Dinners, Winter, Week-ends, Comforting, Post-Christmas Excess, Making Ahead, Freezing


Serves a family of 4, with a few leftovers (which thinned down with more stock makes for a fabulous soup the next day)
Vary your veggies as to what you have in but roots work particularly well

Special Equipment:

A large hob proof casserole or saucepan

A Simple Chicken, Pearl Barley & Veggie Stew

Ingredients Prep Time:15 Mins, Cook Time: 45 Mins, Total Time: 1 Hour

1 tablespoon rapeseed or olive oil
1 onion, peeled, medium dice
1 leek, washed well and sliced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
1 parsnip, peeled and cut into large chunks
1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into large chunks
4 – 6 chicken thighs, free range, skin removed
100g pearl barley
2 bay leaves
dessertspoon thyme leaves
500ml good chicken stock (I like to use a Knorr Stock Pot)

1) Heat the oil in a large casserole dish or saucepan, fry the onion and leek for 5 minutes before adding the garlic for a further minute
2) Add ALL the other ingredients giving everything a good stir around. Bring to a gentle simmer, place a lid on and allow to cook for 45 minutes.
Serve as is or with a mound of buttery mash and a few steamed green veggies

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10 thoughts on “A Simple Chicken, Pearl Barley & Veggie Stew

  1. Vanesther - Bangers & Mash

    Just yum! My lot would wolf that down in seconds, it looks absolutely delicious. We seem to be eating quite a bit of pearl barley in our house at the moment – just can’t seem to get enough of it. And a great dish for your little sous chef to help out with! A marvellous entry for January’s Family Foodies ‘Hidden Goodies’ challenge – can’t wait to see what else you have up your sleeve…

    1. Louisa

      I meant to say in the post, sneaking a few grains, legumes or beans into a stew, casserole, stew, hotpot or curry is always a great way to add a little extra nutrition and they’re rarely picked out. My two actually seem to enjoy pearl barley though so I’ve been chucking it in many a stew and soup lately too.

    1. Louisa

      Thanks Tina, I’ve been chucking pearl barley in many a soup and stew lately. Great to bulk out the meat and for a little hidden extra nutrition too 🙂

  2. Katy Adams

    I must admit I had never cooked with pearl barley before, but I made this today & we all agreed it was delicious! My 6 year old son in particular! Thanks for the recipe!



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