Sunday, January 17, 2010

Chicken and Barley Soup with Mushrooms


I made something similar to this several years ago, but it was more like a barley pilaf. Ben's asked me many times since then to make it and I finally gave in. I don't know what took me so long, this is delicious! This is perfect for a Sunday, it comes together really quickly and it's very easy. Many of the recipes I looked at called for chicken stock but I decided to use beef stock and I'm glad I did, even though there's chicken in the recipe. I think it gave it a more robust flavor. You could certainly use chicken, beef or vegetable stock and it would be fine. You could also substitute 1-2 cups shredded beef roast for the chicken to make it a beef and barley soup. I love the splash of balsamic vinegar at the end, it adds to the depth of the flavor.

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. butter
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
1 shallot, finely chopped
1/2-1 cup carrots, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 quart beef stock
2 cups water
1/2-3/4 cup barley
1 chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 tsp. thyme
1 bay leaf
1-2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
Parmesan cheese

In a stock pot, heat butter and oil. Add mushrooms and shallot and saute until tender. Add carrots and garlic and saute another minute. Add broth and water, barley and chicken pieces; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes. Remove from heat. Test for seasoning; add salt and pepper if needed. Splash in a couple Tbsp. balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, if desired.

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