Whole spelt adds a nutty hint to this soup and a depth of flavour that is rather satisfying. It doesn’t break down like oats, so you if you want a creamier texture, add a handful of oats and cook for a further 20 minutes.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 large onions, chopped
- 2 large carrots, chopped
- 3 celery stalks, chopped
- 2.5 litres chicken stock
- 3 sprigs thyme
- 150 g spelt
- 200 g (1¼ cups) cooked chopped chicken
- extra virgin olive oil and crusty bread, to serve
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Heat oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan over high heat. Add bay leaves, onions, carrots and celery, and cook for 5 minutes or until tender; don’t let them brown.
Add stock, bring to the boil, then add the thyme and spelt. Cover, reduce heat to low (or pop into a preheated 150°C oven) and cook for 2 hours or until spelt is tender.
Season with salt and pepper, add the chicken, stir well and return to the boil.
Remove bay leaves and thyme stems, then serve soup hot drizzled with extra virgin olive oil, and with crusty bread.
Photography by Alan Benson