Liam Pieper’s Stone Soup Recipe


  • Two small onions whole
  • Three handfuls of pearl barley
  • Two litres chicken stock (the nasty vegan powdered stuff is fine, don’t be a snob)
  • Two tablespoons of vinegar
  • One tablespoon of butter
  • Six tablespoons of olive oil
  • One large onion, peeled and finely diced
  • One head of garlic, peeled and finely diced
  • Assorted vegetables (whatever you have in the fridge: leek, carrots, swedes, broccoli etc), finely diced
  • One cup frozen peas
  • One cup frozen corn kernels
  • Fresh herbs of your choice (parsley, thyme, rosemary, bay etc), tied in a bouquet garni (optional)


1. Gently peel the small onions, then wrap them tightly in foil. Toss the wrapped onions in the superheated pan until the skin inside is blackened. Remove from heat and leave aside to cool.

2. Put barley and stock in a pot together, with two tablespoons of vinegar and boil hard, then simmer for an hour until the barley has softened and thickened the stock.

3. In a stock pot, heat a tablespoon of butter and six tablespoons of olive oil over a low heat. Sautee onions with a pinch of salt until soft, add garlic for another minute, and then pour in the barley and stock.

4. Add assorted vegetables (except frozen peas and corn), bring to boil, then simmer for 40 minutes. Add the chargrilled onions and bouquet garni.

5. Add the frozen peas and corn, simmer for another minute, and remove chargrilled onions and bouquet garni.

6. Serve with bread, butter and pistou.

Read Liam Pieper’s essay here.