If you prefer, you can simmer the vegetables in a few tablespoons of stock until soft, and leave out the fat. Or sweat the vegetables in butter or oil until soft, and just lightly golden. Stir in the pearl barley, add half the broth, and simmer until the barley is tender, about 1½ to 2 hours. Stir in the remaining broth and milk or cream. Add salt and pepper to taste, and a little grating of nutmeg, if you like. Add the chicken meat, bring to the boil, simmer for 5 minutes, and serve.
© 2000 Frances Bissell. All rights reserved.