This is a wholesome, filling winter soup with loads of nutrients from the vegetables and plenty of protein from the meats. The chickpeas and barley offer fibre and keep you full for longer, while the spices and garnish keep the flavours fragrant and interesting. It makes a big pot and is good for eating some now and freezing the rest for another meal.
Note on spices: I cannot stress enough how much of a difference it will make if you grind the spices fresh and add them. Pre-ground spices have often lost a lot flavour over the time since they were packaged. I recommend if you must use them, that you taste test during the cooking time and add more if necessary to boost the flavour.
Note on the chicken: I used shredded roast chicken, but if you want a lower fat soup, use thigh or breast. Be sure not to cook the chicken until it is too tough.
Prepare your vegetables by chopping the onion, celery, carrot and capsicum.
Lightly sauté the onion in olive oil in a large saucepan.
Add the ground cumin and coriander and fry until the spices become aromatic.
Add celery, carrot and capsicum and fry until soft.
Add eight cups of water to the mixture, the can of tomatoes, the barley and the stock cubes. Add cayenne if you are using it.
Bring to the boil and cook for 30 mins.
Add the chickpeas and chicken and boil for a further 10 minutes, or until chicken is cooked.
Remove from heat and throw in the washed, chopped spinach. Stir it in and let it cook in the hot water.
Serve in warm bowls. and garnish. As mentioned above, use any of these garnish you choose (or all of them!) according to taste, but it is highly recommended you use the coriander to add freshness to the flavours.
If you are using preserved lemon, remove two pieces from the jar, remove pulp and slice up finely.