Barley-Leek Soup with Mini Chicken Meatballs

  • Yield: servings


1tablespoon unsalted butter
2tablespoons olive oil
3-- leeks, white and pale green parts, chopped
1/2pound cremini mushrooms, sliced
2tablespoons tomato paste
1/4cup dry white wine
2cups pearl barley
8cups chicken broth, plus more as needed
1pound ground chicken
1/2cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4cup plain dried bread crumbs
2tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley, plus 1/2 cup chopped parsley for garnish
1tablespoon tomato paste
-- salt and freshly ground pepper


  1. In a large, heavy pot, melt the butter with the oil over medium-high heat.  Add the leeks and garlic and saute until very soft, about 5 minutes.  Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring often, until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes.  Add the tomato paste and wine, stir to combine, and cook for 4 minutes.  Add the barley and 8 cups broth and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the barley is tender, about 45 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, to make the meatballs, preheat the oven to 375°F.  Oil a baking sheet.  In a bowl, combine the chicken, Parmesan, bread crumbs, 2 Tbsp parsley, and tomato paste.  Add 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper and stir to combine.  The mixture will be very sticky.  To form the meatballs, use two small spoons to scoop up the mixture and transfer it to the prepared sheet.  Bake until the meatballs are cooked through and no longer pink in the center, 10-12 minutes.
  3. Add the meatballs to the soup and stir in gently.  If the soup is too think, add more broth and heath through.  Season with salt and pepper and serve, garnished with the 1/2 cup parsley.

Reprinted with permission from Williams-Sonoma Soup of the Day by Kate McMillan, Weldon Owne