Southwestern-style Chicken Soup with Barley

This soup is more like a stew.  It is super tasty!  This recipe is taken from “The Epicurious Cookbook – More than 250 of our best-loved four-fork recipes” by Tanya Steel and the editors of Epicurious. Give yourself time to make this as the barley needs to simmer in the soup for 45 minutes.  The book suggests for a meatless meal, simply omit the chicken and substitute vegetable broth for the chicken stock.  You can even bump up the bean count for additional protein – and extra fiber.  



3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
4 boneless skinless, chicken breast halves
2 medium onions, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes with their liquid
5 1/2 cups chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup medium pearl barely
1 (4-ounce) can diced mild or hot green chilies
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 cups frozen corn kernels, thawed

1.  In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, 1 tablespoon chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, and the garlic powder.  Place the chicken breasts in a large bowl.  Add the lemon juice mixture and toss to thoroughly coat the chicken.
2.  In an 8-quart Dutch oven over moderate heat, warm 1 tablespoon vegetable oil.  Add the chicken and cook, turning once or twice, until browned and cooked through, about 12 minutes total.  Transfer the chicken to a plate. 
3.  Add the remaining 1 tablespoon vegetable oil along with the onions and garlic to the Dutch oven and saute, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent, about 6 minutes.  Add the black pepper along with the remaining 1 tablespoon chili powder and the remaining 1 teaspoon cumin and cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes.  Add the tomatoes, and their liquid, chicken stock, black beans, barley, chilies, and tomato paste and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.  Reduce the heat to moderately low, cover, and simmer until the barley is tender, about 45 minutes.  
4.  Cut or tear the chicken into bite-size pieces.  Once the barley is tender, stir the chicken into the soup along with the corn, and cook until heated through, about 3 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper and serve.
Yield: Makes 8 servings

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