I think this has become one of my favourite soups. The original was inspired by the Covent Garden Food Co and was their April Soup of the Month - Ciao Bella - which I thought was delicious. A quick scour of the incredients and I decided to make my own.
The recipe calls for pesto - I am a huge advocate of making your own as it takes a thousand times nicer and takes very little time. As it is going in a soup, I'll let you off if you choose to buy it instead.
I source mine from a Turkish supermarket in Holloway, but Israeli cous cous can still be a little hard to get hold of. If you can't find it I would suggest using orzo or ditalini pasta, as the original soup suggests.
This again makes a lot of soup. I would suggest freezing at least half of it into batches so you have some saved up for a rainy day. Freezing the soup in an ice cube tray and then transferring to a freezer bag once set is fantastic - you can unfreeze individual portions as needed.
Ingredients (serves 10):
1 baking potato
1 large onion
1 chicken breast
50g pearl barley
25g Israeli cous cous
1.5 litres vegetable stock
300ml single cream
Peel and chop the potato into chunks then boil for 20 minutes or until soft. While the potato is boiling, chop the onion and slice the leek, then, in a heavy bottomed pan, fry both until soft but not golden. Next, add the stock, spinach, peas and pesto and simmer for 5 minutes. Drain and mash the potato and add to the soup.
In batches, blend the soup then transfer back to the heavy bottomed pan. Grill the chicken until cooked, then set aside to cool. Now, cook the pearl barley as per the directions on the bag. Mine required being boiled twice in a little water before simmering for 30 minutes. Once done, add to the pan alongside the Israeli cous cous. Then shred the chicken and add to the pan. Cook for a further 15-20 minutes, stirring in the single cream just before you're ready to serve.