Rustic Chicken Soup

The past couple of weeks really have been a soup filled fortnight in this frugal household. We have had three different types of soup and it is my honest opinion that the best has been saved for last. It has to be said that this soup, or broth, really benefits from the use of homemade chicken stock as it doesn’t have the rather salty taste that plagues shop bought stocks. This really allows one to control the seasoning of one’s dish, as one expects to be able to do. Indeed, so besotted have I become with the art of stock making that I think I shall soon post more recipes.

This soup is ninety-five percent my own recipe, however, there was one piece of advice I couldn’t help but heed; the inclusion of a single rasher of smoked bacon. Supposedly this tip comes from the soup making genius that is the mother of Jamie Oliver – mothers know best, I suppose. In fact, notwithstanding recent high levels of sarcasm, mothers clearly do know best as the single rasher of bacon really brings this dish alive, giving it a depth of flavour it would otherwise have lacked. It really is rather annoying that the one part of the recipe that was picked up from elsewhere really defines a dish which is supposed to be my own.

As one might expect this soup is incredibly versatile as the prefix of ‘rustic’ may suggest. At the time of cooking the only available vegetables were potatoes and carrots, so they were used. I suppose cabbage would also work rather well, not that I like cabbage in the least bit. So don’t feel bound if you have no carrots or potatoes to hand, let your imagination run wild – though not too wild, we don’t want a silly soup. One may also skip the homemade stock if one wishes, although this is not advised. If this is the case simply replace it according to guidance on the stock box.

Chicken Soup

Serves 4


• 1 litre of chicken stock, preferably homemade

• Any leftover scraps of chicken

• 1 rasher of smoked bacon, roughly sliced

• 300g of one’s chosen vegetables, I used potatoes and carrots

• 100g pearl barley, prepared according to packet instructions

• A handful of red split lentils

• Olive oil

• Seasoning


1. Fry the sliced bacon in a little oil until golden in colour. Pour in the stock and bring to a simmer. Then add the vegetable, barley and lentils. Simmer, with the lid on, until the vegetables, barley and lentils are tender. Season to taste and serve with the ever optional slice of bread.

Cost: Including the cost of my stock, 25p, this soup should cost no more than 70p to make. That’s a rather difficult price to argue with, I think you’ll agree?

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45 comments on “Rustic Chicken Soup

  1. cookinginsens
    October 8, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    Barley again! I love it! I also covet that soup bowl.

    • frugalfeeding
      October 10, 2011 at 10:51 am

      I just found it at the back of one of our cupboards, was looking for something new and interesting! You inspired me actually as you have so many nice utensils and dishes.

  2. Arturo Féliz-Camilo
    October 8, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    I’m not sure if I love more the soup (so creamy!) or the little pot (so beautiful!)

  3. Just A Smidgen
    October 8, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    This looks so yummy, I love fall and soup season:) I have never added smoked bacon, I think that’s an excellent addition!

    • frugalfeeding
      October 10, 2011 at 10:51 am

      The single rasher really gives the soup a deep and delicious flavour.

  4. buttery77
    October 8, 2011 at 3:07 pm

    I too have become an avid stock-maker. I roasting a duck today, so I’ll be transforming the carcass into stock. Though i am not too sure what one uses duck stock for… any ideas?

    • frugalfeeding
      October 10, 2011 at 10:52 am

      Oooooh delicious! I have no idea, I’ve never roasted a duck. Google it? 😀

  5. tanyab1990
    October 8, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    It is a rainy weekend here in Florida…I think your soup would be perfect for this weather or any time. Gotta try it!

  6. tiedwithblue
    October 8, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    Looks perfect for a cold rainy day! Yumm :)

  7. Meredith
    October 8, 2011 at 4:12 pm

    Our family love soups, stews, and chilis during the winter.

    • frugalfeeding
      October 10, 2011 at 10:53 am

      I’m going to be eating so many of them – they are mega healthy too.

  8. EmmaMT
    October 8, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    It’s like you can see into my fridge! I just defrosted a bag of chicken wings this morning to make a big batch of Jewish penicillin (also known as Chicken soup)today.

    I’ll use your recipe now – minus the bacon of course!

    thanks so much

    Looking forward to a cozy evening meal here in the very cold UK

    • frugalfeeding
      October 10, 2011 at 10:53 am

      Perhaps I can… no, that’s a bit creepy, I can’t. It is very cold here isn’t it?

  9. sheelbeel
    October 8, 2011 at 8:17 pm

    Mmm barley instead of pasta is genius! This seems like excellent comfort food!!

    • frugalfeeding
      October 10, 2011 at 10:54 am

      Barley is just more rustic, cheaper, healthier and generally tastier than pasta!

  10. thecompletecookbook
    October 8, 2011 at 8:30 pm

    Awesome recipe! Love the addition of the bacon – cannot believe that I have never thought of ding it before! I would be tempted to add more than just one rasher though.
    Enjoy the rest of your weekend.
    :-) Mandy
    PS. Your blondies were fabulous!

    • frugalfeeding
      October 10, 2011 at 10:55 am

      No need to add more than one rasher. It’s only there to provide flavour and one rasher does it more than adequately. It’s very subtle, ut also very noticeable. I’m glad you enjoyed the blondies.

  11. jacqueline
    October 8, 2011 at 10:05 pm

    Nothing beats a homemade soup. And chicken soup? The best! Thanks for a wonderful post.

  12. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide
    October 9, 2011 at 12:47 am

    Oh you really put that stock to good use!

  13. cityhippyfarmgirl
    October 9, 2011 at 10:02 am

    I love the chew of barley. Great soup.

    • frugalfeeding
      October 10, 2011 at 10:57 am

      It is just so tender and delicious. It takes on flavour even better than rice.

  14. healthinspirations
    October 9, 2011 at 3:24 pm

    Thanks for commenting on my blog, you were my first commenter. Thought I’d stop by and check out your site. Your ideas and recipes are amazing!

    • frugalfeeding
      October 10, 2011 at 10:57 am

      I’m glad I was your first 😀 I’m glad you like my blog.

  15. lambyknits01
    October 9, 2011 at 7:27 pm

    Yum – it looks hearty and delish! :)

  16. annasamara
    October 10, 2011 at 2:49 am

    Yum! I made a similar chicken & vegetable soup on the weekend, and I completely agree with you about using home-made stock – it makes so much difference! I like your idea of including bacon, I’ll have to try that next time :)

    • frugalfeeding
      October 10, 2011 at 11:08 am

      It is just so much tastier! The bacon gives it a really deep flavour, it works very very well – just one rasher of smoked though.

  17. KitchenKraftInc
    October 10, 2011 at 3:52 pm

    Great sounding recipe, though I’ll have to use my food scale to measure the grams, instead of my measuring cup. It’s been about 30 years since I learned metric conversion in school, and well, “use it or lose it” they say.

    • frugalfeeding
      October 10, 2011 at 9:11 pm

      You will! I have conversion links on the side bar though.

  18. Aimee@clever muffin
    October 10, 2011 at 9:04 pm

    This looks delicious! I’m glad you’ve covered home made stock I attempted it once and, well, it was a massive fail. Tastleless I tells you. Time to try again!

    • frugalfeeding
      October 10, 2011 at 9:10 pm

      You must. It’s completely fool proof if you follow the recipe – even for a girl who put raisins and toothpaste in a kettle to make tea!

      • Aimee@clevermuffin
        October 10, 2011 at 9:15 pm

        I feel this is a challenge for me to try and stuff it up!! I am going to give it a go though, it’s well overdue I stopped using the packet stuff, and will report back.

        • frugalfeeding
          October 10, 2011 at 9:23 pm

          Give it a good go! I look forward to the report!

  19. sweetstepheet
    October 10, 2011 at 10:22 pm

    I never would have though of adding bacon to chicken soup. My next pot will definitely have a new addition! My husband is a big fan of bacon, do you think more could be added without it being too overpowering? He refers to himself as a “meatatarian.” I love soups and stews and he fights me all winter, anything I can do to hush him up I will do. =)

    • frugalfeeding
      October 10, 2011 at 10:24 pm

      I’d honestly stick to just the one rasher, if you want to add more you could but it’d probably overpower the whole dish. Why not fry some off and place it on top? I’m not so much into my meat, I’m perfectly happy with a good bean or two.

  20. littlehouseonthepond
    October 15, 2011 at 9:52 pm

    Sounds fantastic! I can’t wait to try it.

    • frugalfeeding
      October 16, 2011 at 3:56 pm

      I can’t wait for you to, let me know if it goes well.

  21. amymarie
    October 16, 2011 at 7:19 pm

    Mmmmm…… Your soup DOES look delicious!

  22. willyoubemyguineapig
    October 26, 2011 at 12:27 am

    This soup is so inviting….perfectly presented. Will make it soon especially with cold setting in. Also, your blog is very nice..and happy to find plenty of vegetarian stuff.

    • frugalfeeding
      October 28, 2011 at 11:32 pm

      It’s incredibly delicious – I’m glad you approve.

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