A few weeks ago, on a cold and blustery Sunday in Florida, I asked Nick what he felt like having for dinner. His response was something along the lines of, “Something warm.” It just so happened that earlier that day, I’d been flipping through a random Woman’s Day magazine and saw a recipe for Beef, Barley and Mushroom Soup that I thought looked good. It seemed like it fit the bill, so that’s what we made, and it was perfect for the cold weather. Yes, Florida has cold weather. Thirty-five degrees is cold, and I don’t care if there isn’t 12 feet of snow here. You chose to live there.
Anyways, after making the soup, I found myself with a big bag of leftover barley. What exactly can you do with barley? I’ve never cooked with it before so I really had no ideas. Enter foodgawker. For those of you who don’t know about foodgawker.com, YOU NEED TO KNOW. It’s the most fabulous website which collects gorgeous food photograpy from blogs all over the web in one place. And it’s where I find most of my recipe ideas. I entered barley into the search box and up popped nearly 200 recipes. I immediately saw what I wanted to make and didn’t even need to click past the first page.
One of Nick’s all time top favorite foods is chili. Homemade, canned, beef, chicken, bean… it doesn’t matter. The boy loves chili. I once saw him eat it cold, with a spoon, straight from a can. Not a pleasant sight. I’ve found cans of chili in the trunk of his car and scattered around the garage. I’m waiting for the day when I find a can buried in the sheets at the foot of the bed.
When I saw Chicken Barley Chili on foodgawker, I knew that’s what I was making. Unfortunately, when I finally made the chili, we had some new friends over for dinner and were too distracted to take any photos of the cooking process. On the bright side, because it’s so easy and uses mostly prepackaged ingredients, it’s a great meal to make when you need to be simultaneously entertaining guests! I made some cornbread muffins on the side– a quick and easy Jiffy mix.
Everyone really loved the chili and we had a great time with our new friends, Melanie and Nate, and their pup Harvey.
Chicken Barley Chili
(adapted from The Cilantropist)
- 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes with chilis, undrained
- 1 jar (16 oz) medium salsa
- 1 can (14.5 oz) chicken broth
- 4 cups water
- 1 cup barley
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 can (15 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 cups frozen sweet corn
- 3 large chicken breasts, poached and shredded
In a large stockpot, combine the first 7 ingredients. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer on low heat for approximately 35-40 minutes. Add beans, corn, and chicken, then bring to a boil again. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer on low for an additional 5 minutes. Check barley to make sure it is soft and cooked through. Serve and top with sour cream, cheese and/or cornbread crumbles!
Next time I’ll use a little more chili powder and cumin, and I’d also add a second can of black beans or maybe one each of black and kidney. Those are my only recommendations– other than that, I can’t believe how delicious this chili was for how simple it was to make! If I can keep the fridge stocked with homemade chili, maybe I won’t find that can in the bed after all…