Barley and Wild Rice Chicken Soup

The boy has deemed this the most fashionable food item of the season.

Like I mentioned in an earlier post, this Fall our kitchen has been a mass producer of soup, stew, and chili. Our bowls and spoons have never gotten such a workout before, and our knives and forks are weeping – begging for attention once more.

We’re riding this wave of soupy goodness until we can’t take it anymore. Or until the first day of Spring… whichever comes first.

Barley and Wild Rice Chicken Soup

This particular recipe came about on a whim. One afternoon via Google Chat, I sent the hubs 3 options for dinner via almighty Pinterest. An adaptation of this recipe with wild rice was one of them, and it became the chosen one for that night. It had the earthy goodness of mushroom, the sweet crispness of onion, and the facade of creaminess, courtesy of a basic roux instead of a quart of heavy cream.

A few weeks later, we added some tweaks. In particular: barley.

About a year and a half ago, we came to know and love barley as more than just the backbone of beer and Scotch. It has a rustic flavor that beckons winter weather and warms your soul. When paired with shredded chicken, carrots, celery, onion, and mushrooms, it creates a dish that tastes like it could have been whipped up by an 18th century farmer’s wife with acres of grain and the happiest little garden planted next to her sturdy cabin made with the bare hands of her rugged, Scottish warrior husband.

Sorry, I’m at that point in the Outlander book series.

Still. So. Good.

Getting back on track, this soup will warm your belly and your soul. Pour it into an obnoxiously large bowl and pair it with a crusty baguette and serve simmering warm. Like lots of soups, it’s abundantly better the next day after it has had time for the flavors to mingle and fall head over heels in love with each other.

Barley and Wild Rice Chicken Soup

To save time, you can use a rotisserie chicken and shred it, saving the carcass for homemade stock, or just bake individual chicken breasts and dice or shred them.


Barley and Wild Rice Chicken Soup


  • 1 cup dry barley
  • 1 cup dry wild rice
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 large yellow onion diced
  • 3 medium carrots diced
  • 2 large celery stalks diced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 3 quarts chicken stock
  • 3 cups cooked shredded chicken
  • 12 oz brown mushrooms sliced
  • parsley (optional)


  • Cook rice and barley ahead of time according to package instructions. Set aside.
  • Heat oil over medium high heat in a large stock pot. Add garlic, onion, carrots, and celery and cook until slightly soft and the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.
  • Stir in the flour  and thyme and stir constantly for about 3 minutes. Pour in the chicken stock slowly and whisk until all the lumps are dissolved. Bring to a boil
  • Add chicken and mushrooms and simmer for about 15 minutes. Add the barley and wild rice and half and half and heat to a boil for 6 or 7 minutes until heated through.
  • Serve warm with fresh parsley on top.

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Kate Nelson

I’m a wife and mother to two daughters. I was a very, very geeky kid and spent my many years of youth reading science fiction and playing Dungeons & Dragons. I live in Austin with my family and love Star Wars. In here you find a whole lot of food recipes.

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