Pumpkin & barley broth

by Jenny Chandler

A satisfying and wholesome pearl barley dish to warm winter evenings

An economical and very comforting soup for winter evenings. It’s vital to use a good, flavoursome stock along with the parmesan rind as you simmer the soup, to get the fabulous depth of flavour. The pearl barley gives a creamy texture and makes the soup satisfyingly filling.

For more on barley, read Jenny’s latest blog


3 onions, finely sliced
2 tbsp olive oil
20g butter
½ tbsp fresh rosemary, very finely chopped
A good pinch of chilli flakes
100g pearl parley
350g squash or pumpkin flesh, cut into rough 3cm chunks
A small piece of parmesan rind (about 50g)
1¼ litre good chicken stock
Juice of ½ a lemon (zest first for the gremolata)

For the gremolata:
1 medium clove of garlic, very finely chopped
Zest of ½ a lemon
A large handful of parsley leaves, finely chopped
30g parmesan cheese, finely grated


Take a large saucepan and fry the onions in the oil and butter for at least 30 mins, stirring from time to time, until they collapse and begin to caramelise.

Throw in the rosemary, chilli, pearl barley, squash and the parmesan rind and stir around in the pan for 1-2 mins.

Add the stock, bring the soup up to the boil and then turn down to a simmer for about 20 mins until the pearl barley is cooked through and the squash is tender. Now’s the time to remove the parmesan rind, it’s done its work.

Add lemon juice, salt and black pepper to taste—it will be a question of tasting and re-tasting until you have the right balance.

Mix together the gremolata ingredients and sprinkle over the top of the hot soup before serving.

Recipe: Jenny Chandler