SOUPS: Bistro Chicken Barley Soup

The one thing I can get all my “boys” to agree on is that they LOVE barley. Especially hearty barley soup. The soup can be leftover Beef, chicken or Pork as long as it has barely in it my boys are HAPPY! 

Little know fact: Soups can be made i n the Crockpot!

With Summertime coming, get out the crock pot and not only save money in time, groceries and hassle…save energy costs too! It saves on energy costs several ways.

1. You’re alleviating the necessity for your A/C to run overtime re-cooling the house by having your stove/oven going.

2. You put stuff into your crock-pot and ccok it all in one pot saves dishwasher space & time.

3. Crockpots take up a lot less energy than cooking via electric.

4. It’s a great way to make less groceries go farther!

It’s a great way to use leftovers, veggies and meat and takes as little as 4 hours to make no hassle soup!

BARLEY: It has been feeding humans for millenia. It has fallen out of favor with Americans because of the advent of rice  and the move away from whole grains. It is added to most breads in flour form. Today people have come to think of barley as peasant food.  I grew up on it and love the chewy, creamy texture it gives soups & stews and even make it as a side dish in the form of Barley Pilaf (see recipe below). It will make any soup or stew you put it in thicker, so beware when reheating you will need to add broth.

You will most likely find two types of barley- Pearl Barley & Quick-cook Barley. Pearl barley has had the hull removed and is still in kernel form. Quick-cook Barley has been steam-rolled much like the process they use for quick oats. It cooks much faster than pearled barley and tastes just as good!

QUICK BARLEY PILAF

INGREDIENTS

1 cup quick-cook barley

1 Tbl. olive oil

1/2 cup sliced scallions

1 clove of garlic-minced

1 (14 ounce) can of chicken broth or approximately 1 3/4 cup home-made stock or broth

1 tsp fresh thyme

1/4 cup fresh basil

1 lemon zested & juiced-optional

1/4 cup asiago cheese

1 cup of your favorite veggie, broccoli, spinach, carrots cut into bite sized pieces

Kosher salt & pepper to taste.

1-2 tablespoons unsalted butter

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a large sauce pan toast the barley with the Tbl. of olive oil over medium heat for approximately 3-5 minutes or until lightly toasted (you’ll smell the change, at that point take it immediately off the heat) Stirring constantly. If you over toast, start over again it will ruin the finished dish!
  2. Add the butter,  green onion and garlic to the barley in the saucepan and cook over mediumheat  another 2 minutes.
  3. Add the veggies, herbs and the broth to the pan and cook until all the liquid has evaporated and veggies are tender NOT MUSHY!
  4. It’s ok if there is a little moisture left if the veggies become tender before all the liquid has been absorbed.
  5. Remove from the heat and add the grated cheese!

My clients LOVE this dish when I make it for them and I think your family will too!

TIP: If you like it creamy add a little marscapone cheese or heavy cream to it right before you serve it.

BISTRO CHICKEN BARLEY SOUP

INGREDIENTS

1 (14 ounce) can or 1 3/4 cups home made stock or broth

1(16 oz) bag of frozen veggies whatever you  use for soup or stew

1 cup sliced or diced celery stalks & leaves!

1 clove of garlic minced

1 cup diced onions

2/3 cups pearled barley

1 cup fresh mushrooms sliced or a 4 oz can

3 cups of water

1 (1.8oz) envelope of dried french onion or mushroom soup mix

2 cups left over chicken or turkey cubed

salt & pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS: 5qt oval

Combine all the ingredients in the crock insert. 

COVER & cook on LOW for 6 hours

HIGH for 3, makes about 3 qt.s

NOTE: if you use quick cook barley add the barly 1 hour before soup is done.



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