1. Lemon juice is essential.
2. So is milk.
3. Don't argue. The combination gives the soup a kind of Northern European tom kha gai flavor profile that is seriously addictive.
3. Pasta, rice and barley are all nice. However, the first two should be cooked separately and mixed in the bowl to avoid them getting all soft and bloated in the leftovers, but barley can be cooked in the soup. I'm partial to orzo, but have been using barley lately out of laziness.
4. I've had other chicken soups that were fine and I enjoyed, but this is the only one I truly love.
2 T butter
2 onions, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 or 4 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
8 c. broth
2 whole cloves
4 whole peppercorns
carrots, peeled and chopped
parsnips, peeled and chopped
other vegetables if you like. snow peas are a nice addition. so are grape tomatoes and mushrooms. turnips?
1/2 c. barley
1/2 c. lemon juice
1 1/2 c. milk
Brown the onion in butter over medium heat.
Add the garlic and cook for a few minutes. Add the chicken, broth, vegetables, barley and spices. Lower heat and bring to a boil. Turn heat to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes, then remove chicken to a plate. When chicken is cool enough to handle, shred it and add back to soup. Make sure barley is tender, then add the lemon juice and stir well. Add the milk. Adjust for salt as needed.
[originally posted on my old food blog 11.11.2009]