chicken and pearl barley broth

serves 8, hands-on time 30 min, simmering time 1 hour 25-30 min

2 onions, sliced
2 large carrots, chopped 1 large leek, sliced
Knob of butter
1 free-range chicken, about 1.6kg
200g pearl barley
2 large handfuls of frozen peas
Put the onions, carrots, leek and butter in a large, heavy-based lidded pan and cook gently for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the veg is soft but not coloured and the onions are translucent.

Season the chicken and add to the pan, pour in 2 litres cold water to almost cover, then heat to a gentle simmer. Cover and cook for 1 hour, skimming off any scum that forms on the surface.
Remove the chicken from the pan and shred the meat from the carcass. Set aside.

Add the pearl barley and the chicken carcass to the broth, cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes until the pearl barley is cooked but still has bite. Remove and discard the carcass, then add the chicken meat with any juices. Add the peas, taste and season. Cook for another 5 minutes, then serve in bowls with crusty buttered bread on the side.

PER SERVING( 280kcals, 4.5g fat 11.6g saturated), 34.4g protein, 25.9g carbs (4.1g sugars', 0.2g salt, 2.7g fibre

Nest time: add star anise, fresh ginger and chilli. Put in broken rice noodles, 2-3 mins before the end instead of barley.