Chicken, Barley and Kale Soup

Post image for Chicken, Barley and Kale Soup

By Nancy Buchanan



by Nancy Buchanan on October 21, 2010

I have a confession to make. I am not a huge fan of “hearty greens” – kale, collard and mustard greens have never really “done it” for me. Now, this might have something to do  with  the fact that we  just haven’t been properly introduced.   The first time I tried them, they were harsh,  acerbic and didn’t seem to have much substance – and despite the fact that they are tremendously nutritious, I just couldn’t get myself to eat them.  From that point forward, I have pretty much avoided them. Lately though, wherever I turn it seems  I come face to face with them. Given how many people rave about them (kale chips anyone??) I decided that I really needed to give them another try. So, when I saw this soup  recipe I thought it would be a great opportunity to once again try hearty greens  since I loved all the other ingredients – fennel, onions and barley swimming in a flavorful broth. Chunky and hearty, this is my kind of soup!! So when the rains hit this week, I was ready. I made some adjustments – adding and subtracting from the basic recipe.  The verdict? Good, very, very  good. In all honesty, this soup may never be my absolute favorite, but it will definitely be part of my soup “repertoire”. My experience with the kale was a good one and I know I will be trying other recipes that feature kale and other hearty greens.

As I was writing  this post, I kept thinking that my experience with hearty greens  is a lot like our experience with people. Sometimes first introductions don’t go well – people can seem harsh, acerbic and lacking in substance and it’s easy to dismiss them.  Sometimes though, after getting to know them, you find that you actually like them or that they  really aren’t as bad as you initially thought  – something perhaps to ponder as we head into another acrimonious  election season.


{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Barbara | VinoLuciStyle October 21, 2010 at 2:20 pm

Soul sisters!? I’m the same; I think it was my introduction to them when I was 28 and moved from St Louis to Raleigh, NC. Grits I could do but those greens. Overcooked mush that just never tasted very good to me so I’ve avoided all these years; just no interest at all.

But like you I’ve heard the chatter and am wondering if I should give them another shot (and I would probably start with kale chips!). But truth is, I still don’t think they’ll ever be a big part of my diet; I’m just not that crazy about the idea of soggy greens and that includes spinach (which I love fresh).


Nancy October 22, 2010 at 5:09 pm

Hi Barb!!

Adding the greens to a soup is a great way to try them out – even my 14 year old thought it was good – and he is not known for liking his “greens”!!! I def think we are “soul sisters”! REALLY hoping oldest goes to Boulder since it would give me a chance to come and visit you!!!


Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite October 25, 2010 at 11:01 am

Yay – another non fan of hearty greens. We always get tons of kale etc.. in our organic box and I never really know what to do with them. I do now. Bookmarking this to use very very soon…


Nancy October 26, 2010 at 12:42 am

Hi Mardi!!

Soups are a great way to use these kinds of greens – thanks for stopping by the Table!!


Sophia October 25, 2010 at 5:06 pm

Yum, I love a good chicken dinner recipe. I just made a chicken casserole the other day. It’s called Artichoke Olive Chicken Bake. I loved it! I’m going to put your recipe on my “To-Make” list, too!


Jean at The Delightful Repast October 26, 2010 at 2:26 pm

Nancy, I love hearty greens! And this is soup weather, so I’ll probably be trying this one out before long. Made black bean soup last week and decided to start making soup once a week.


Nancy October 26, 2010 at 2:50 pm

Hi Jean!!!

Like you, I generally make soup once a week during the fall and winter. This soup is a great make ahead one. You can finish the soup and then just add the greens while you are reheating it!!


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: