One Pot Lemon Barley Chicken

Preparation time
15 mins
Cooking time
45 mins
4 people
Meal course
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One Pot Lemon Barley Chicken

This recipe is so vibrant yet comforting, and the classic flavour combination of Lemon and Barley just works a treat. The end result is somewhere between a risotto and a braise, it’s perfect for those cold winter nights. This is great for a mid-week meal also, because once it’s on the stove you can walk away until it’s ready. It has become a favourite at our table, and I hope you love it too.



1.2kg free-range Chicken, jointed into 8 ***
1 large Leek
1 tbs fresh Thyme leaves
1 ltr good quality Chicken Stock
250mls Cream
125mls freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
1 tsp Lemon zest
1 ½ cups of Pearl Barley
200gms Stringless Green Beans, cut into halves
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
Thyme leaves to serve


  1. Heat a large sauté pan over a high heat and add 2 tbs olive oil. Fry the chicken for 6-8 minutes until the skin is browned and caramelized all over. Remove the chicken from the pan and add the finely sliced leek and thyme leaves. Lower the heat to med-high and cook stirring regularly until the leeks are starting to break down.
  2. In a large jug, mix together the stock, cream, lemon juice and zest. Pour into the pan and add the barley and green beans. Season and mix together well, and then add the chicken pieces back into the pan with any resting juices.
  3. Simmer uncovered rapidly for 30-40 minutes until the barley is plump and al dente and most of the liquid has evaporated. Season again to taste and serve immediately with a scattering of extra thyme over the top.
  4. *** TIP: If you are unsure how to joint a whole chicken, get your butcher to do it for you. You need 8 pieces for this recipe. Alternatively you can substitute with chicken drumsticks or thighs - either bone in or out would work equally well.


  1. Belinda said on July 10, 2017 Reply
    I made this tonight and it was very tasty! Next time i would use much less lemon juice and start abt 45 mins earlier bc the barley took ages to cook. :)
    1. Bree May said on July 12, 2017 Reply
      Hi Belinda, yes it is very tangy!! I love it super lemony, but you could definitely halve the amount for a more subtle flavour. If you use regular pearl barley, the recipe timings should be right. I like my barley to still have a slight al dente bite to it, but you could definitely cook it for longer and have a softer end result. Let me know how you go! Bree :)
  2. Daphne said on November 21, 2017 Reply
    Made this some time ago. So very tasty, even my husband who does not like barley ate it, and will happily have it again.
    1. Bree May said on December 4, 2017 Reply
      Awesome, that's the kind of feedback I love to hear!! Glad you love it :)

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