Monday, March 28, 2011

Southwestern Chicken Barley Soup

I thought Spring was here.

No luck!

I was lucky enough to be in Seattle last week and I thought Spring was here for sure.  We had beautiful weather, even in the 60's one day, and no rain during the day.  It was awesome!  I will share pictures later on that though.

But back to Spring in Idaho.  I got home and we have had rain, snow, and more rain.  Which is awesome for those farmers but not so awesome for moms who needs their kids to play outside and get some sunshine, especially when they don't have school.

I only have so many ideas in my brain when it comes to keeping children entertained, especially 10 year olds.  They are just not excited about play dough anymore!

Anyway, I thought we were done with soups till this fall, but after a very cold day (you know more of that rain and snow stuff) I decided this would be perfect for dinner.  And oh my, it was!  My husband and I loved it and I ate it for leftovers for several days, it was that good.

Have you ever tried barley in your soups? I have never put it in my soups before and this was absolutely delicious.  I loved the little "pop" it gave. and I will definitely be keeping this recipe and adding barley to my soups more often.

Southwestern Chicken Barley Soup

1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (16-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 3/4 c. chicken broth
1 c. medium barley (not quick cooking--if your store has a bulk area it can be found there)
4 c. water
1 T. chili powder
2 t. cumin
1 t. dried oregano
dash cayenne pepper, to taste (optional)
2-3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 c. frozen corn kernels

Garnishes: shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, sliced green onions, tortilla chips

1.  In a large pot, combine the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, chicken broth, barley, water, chili powder, cumin, dried oregano and cayenne. Stir well. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat and add the chicken. Stir to combine. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer the chili for 40 minutes, until the barley is tender and chewy and the chicken is no longer pink. Stir occasionally, while simmering to prevent sticking. After 40 minutes, add the beans and corn. Stir to combine and simmer for five more minutes. Serve the chili with garnishes.

Note: The soup will thicken considerably upon cooling. Add chicken broth or water as needed to achieve a desirable consistency (especially if reheating the leftovers).  I didn't find that I needed to do this but it does thicken a lot.

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