I didn’t create this one—it’s my friend Rishe’s signature dish, and it could easily be renamed Best Ever Soup. It certainly has my vote! In fact, pretty much everyone who has tried it raves about it. I knew I had to share the recipe with you, and Rishe graciously agreed to let me make and photograph it with her.

This is not your typical chicken soup, with clear broth and matzah balls. It’s pretty much a meal in a bowl, with lots of chicken, vegetables and barley in every bite, and the barley helps thicken the broth, giving it a real, hearty, full-bodied flavor. Delicious for Shabbat or any weeknight. Oh, and leftovers make fantastic work lunches (if you have access to a microwave).

The recipe below makes a full 12-quart pot of soup (because you will surely be asked for seconds and thirds, and you will want to eat it all week long), but you can easily halve or even quarter it if you want to make less.


  • 2 lb. chicken (you can use white or dark chicken, on the bone or off)
  • 2 large Spanish onions, diced
  • 1 huge (or 2–3 small) zucchini, peeled and diced
  • 5 huge (or 10 small) carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 bunch celery, leaves removed, stalks diced
  • ½ lb. barley
  • ¼ cup kosher salt
  • Pinch of black pepper
  • Water


  1. This recipe is for a 12-qt. pot, but you can easily halve it if you want to make a smaller amount. (It also freezes well.)
  2. Place the chicken, onion, zucchini, carrots, celery, salt and pepper in the pot. Fill with water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for two hours.
  3. Add the barley and cook for another 45–60 minutes.
  4. Remove the chicken, debone, dice and return to the soup.
  5. Serve immediately or refrigerate for later. Also freezes well. Enjoy!

What’s your favorite winter soup?