This highly nutritious version of the age-old common cold elixir will also work to keep you hydrated, which can soothe a sore throat. Other greens, such as kale and chard, work here too.
For maximum nutrition, opt for hulled barley, which contains more of its fibre-rich bran than pearled barley (which has its outer husk removed). Hulled barley takes longer to cook, but soaking the grains for several hours will serve to lessen its cooking time.
3/4 cup (180 mL) hulled barley
1 Tbsp (15 mL) grapeseed oil or sunflower oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
2 medium carrots, chopped
3 cups (750 mL) sliced white button mushrooms
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp (30 mL) tomato paste
1 tsp (5 mL) dried thyme
1/2 tsp (2 mL) black pepper
1/2 tsp (2 mL) red chili flakes (optional)
1 cup (250 mL) dry white wine
1 1/2 lbs (750 g) bone-in chicken breast, skin removed
5 cups (1.25 L) low-sodium chicken broth
4 cups (1 L) spinach
2 Tbsp (30 mL) red wine vinegar
1/2 cup (125 mL) flat-leaf parsley
In bowl, place barley, cover with water, and soak overnight.
In large saucepan, heat oil over medium. Add onion and salt; heat until onion has softened and begins to brown, about 6 minutes. Add carrots, mushrooms, celery, and garlic to pan and heat for 6 minutes. Stir in tomato paste, thyme, pepper, and chili flakes (if using); heat for 30 seconds. Add wine to pan and boil for 2 minutes.
Place drained barley, chicken, and broth in pan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, covered, until chicken is cooked through to an internal temperature of 165 F (74 C), about 30 minutes. Remove chicken from pan and continue simmering until barley is tender, about 10 minutes more.
Shred chicken meat and return to pan along with spinach and vinegar; heat until spinach is wilted. Serve garnished with parsley and cracked black pepper.