It is the season in many parts of the country for heart warming comfort food. Even in Florida, we get damp, chilly evenings where a hot bowl of soup is just want you crave.
On one such evening when we were in the mood for some comfort food, I was inspired to use barley in a different way.
I love beef barley soup but I wanted to try my hand using barley in a chicken soup. Think of it as similar to chicken with rice soup but with more flavor. Whole grain barley is high in fiber and protein. It adds a nutty flavor to your dishes and can be used as you would rice or other grains.
I also wanted to leverage my slow cooker for this recipe so the soup could simmer all day. It was Sunday and there is nothing is better on a chilly day that to warm your home with the aroma and warmth of soup cooking. If you prefer, you can also prepare the soup in large soup pot and simmer it on low for several hours instead of using your slow cooker.
For those of you who have read my blog before, you know I love Wildtree all natural and organic seasoning blends and I often feature them in my recipes. To learn more about Wildtree check out my blog: http://www.chefjenswitzer.com/blog/2014/05/04/Why-Wildtree.aspx
Slow Cooked Chicken & Barley Soup
32 ounces of stock (or 32 ounces of water + Wildtree chicken soup base)
1 cup of diced carrot
3 ribs of celery, finely diced
1 tablespoon Wildtree Absolutely Onion blend or dried onion
1 teaspoon Herbs de Provence, Wildtree preferred
1 tablespoon Wildtree Garlic Galore garlic seasoning blend or other garlic seasoning
1 package boneless, skinless chicken thighs, diced
1/2 to 1 cup pearl barley, use less if you want more broth, use more if you want a more chunky soup
Combine stock, carrot, celery, onion and garlic seasonings along with the herbs de Provence to slow cooker. Drizzle with Wildtree roasted garlic grapeseed oil.
I prefer chicken thighs when slow cooking chicken. It adds more flavor to the soup and also has a better texture than chicken breasts when slow cooked. I also find it easier to dice chicken with it is partially frozen. Freeze for an hour or two before your dice it.
Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on low for about 4 to 6 hours. Add more stock, if necessary.
I hope you enjoy this heart warming soup that is perfect for the winter season.