Italian Chicken Barley Soup Recipe

Italian Chicken Barley Soup Recipe

The basic chicken barley soup was a favorite of ancient Roman soldiers. It was easy to make, flavorful, and filling.

Chicken Barley Soup


  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 28 ounce can tomatoes
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 3 coriander seeds (or 1/8 tsp ground coriander)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbs fresh oregano (1 tsp dried)
  • 2 basil leaves, chopped (1 tsp dried)
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 pounds assorted chicken pieces
  • 1/2 cup barley
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • Parmesan cheese for garnish


  1. In a large pot crush the tomatoes by hand. Mix in all other ingredients and bring to a boil.
  2. Lower the heat to a low simmer and cover.
  3. Allow to simmer, covered, for 1 hour.
  4. Remove the chicken from the pot and allow to cool so that you can handle the chicken pieces.
  5. Uncover the pot and allow to simmer for 30 minutes.
  6. Remove the meat from the chicken pieces and return the meat to the pot.
  7. Serve hot with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Note:This soup freezes well for quick meals. Serve with a salad and garlic bread for a complete meal.
Barley (a type of grass) has been an important food stuff for millenia. Ancient Romans would often eat barley bread or barley cakes. A nutritious barley cake was made from barley, lentils, and fava beans. Barley is also used to make soup, porridge, and beer. The use of barley in soup was common throughout the ancient world. The Italians often make a fava bean and barley soup that provided almost all nutritional needs. The ancient Romans also ground barley into a meal for a barley polenta.

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