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Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Chicken Barley Soup with Chives


It’s true—chicken soup warms the soul. Especially when it’s paired with a hearty, healthful grain like barley. For ease of cooking, I used pearl barley in this recipe. Although it isn’t a “whole” grain (the outer hull has been removed), pearl is still loaded with vitamins, protein, fiber, and everything to feel good about. Its mild, nutty flavor and chewy texture take regular chicken soup to a thicker, richer level.

Pearl Barley
Serves 6

Ingredients
  • 1-1/2 lbs bone-in chicken breast, skin removed (about 3 medium breast halves)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2/3 cup pearl barley
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup thinly sliced peeled carrot
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 5 cups unsalted chicken stock
  • 1/2 tsp celery seed
  • 1/4 cup chopped chives, plus more for garnish
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
Vegetables and Chives
Preparation
  1. Place the chicken breasts in a large pot along with the bay leaves and oregano and season with salt and pepper. Cover with water.
  2. Bring the water to a simmer, then reduce the heat and cook until the chicken is cooked through, 45-50 minutes, depending on size. Remove the breasts and let cool. When cool enough to handle, shred the meat, discarding the bones.
Seasoned Chicken Breasts
Cooked Chicken Breasts 
Shredded Chicken
  1. Meanwhile, bring 2-1/2 cups of water to a boil in another pot. Season lightly with salt and stir in the barley (the barley will absorb the salt, so don't use too much). Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the liquid is absorbed and the barley is tender, 40-45 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
Barley Beginning to Simmer 
Cooked Barley
(Both the chicken and barley may be made several hours or a day ahead. Cover and refrigerate separately.)
  1. Heat a soup pot over medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the carrot, onion, and both bell peppers and cook, stirring frequently, 5 minutes.
  2. Add the chicken stock and celery seed and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low and cook until the vegetables are almost tender, 5 minutes.
  3. Add the cooked chicken, cooked barley, 1/4 cup chives, and vinegar. Cook until hot throughout and flavors have blended, 5 minutes. 
Vegetables Beginning to Cook 
Stock Beginning to Cook
Chicken and Barley Added
Divide the soup among 6 bowls and garnish with more chives. Serve hot.

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