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Chicken Barley Variations

Asked by Amna64. Answered on 15th February 2021

Full question

Can this be made with a chicken alternative? My husband is a vegetarian but the rest of the family isn’t! So desperately want to make this.

Is there a substitute for parsnips in the Chicken Barley? I can't find them where I live.

Image of Nigella's Chicken Barley
Photo by Jonathan Lovekin
Chicken Barley
By Nigella
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Our answer

Nigella's Chicken Barley (from AT MY TABLE) is a comforting cross between a soup and a stew. The chicken thighs are cooked on the bone with the vegetables and barley as this way the chicken adds a lot of extra flavour to the finished dish. If you want to make a vegetarian version then we would suggest omitting the chicken, using a well-flavoured vegetable stock and increasing the quantity of vegetables by around 100-150g per vegetable. But taste the dish before serving it as you will need to season the dish very well if making it without the chicken.

If you can't find parsnips then celeriac (celery root) would be the best alternative. Failing this, you could increase the amount of carrots and leeks instead, though we would mention that we would only do this when making the dish with the chicken included.

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