It could scarcely be any easier. Get a parsnip, a carrot, a leek, and a stick of celery out of the fridge, peel the parsnip and carrot, and finely slice everything. Place them in a Dutch oven and add 4 chicken thighs, a tsp. each of dried thyme, Dijon mustard, and kosher salt, 2 bay leaves, a grinding of black pepper, and half a cup of pearl barley. Add about 5 cups of cold water to submerge everything. Cover, bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer 40 minutes. The chicken should be cooked after 30, but it will be easier to shred by 40. Transfer the thighs to a cutting board, remove the skin, take the meat off the bones, shred it, and drop it back in the pot. If you can, leave the stew uncovered for about 10 minutes before serving. I love this scattered with fresh dill, but parsley is also good.
—Nigella Lawson, author of Nigella Kitchen: Recipes from the Heart of the Home