Saturday, October 20, 2012

Southwestern Chicken Barley Chili

recipe from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Okay, I am still trying to hone my food photography skills.  Although this picture isn't my proudest effort, I want you to know that this chili is really delicious.  Check out Mel's picture from Mel's Kitchen Cafe for a picture that does this chili some justice.  It is a wonderfully hearty, delicious chili perfect for these cooler autumn nights.  Give it a shot. It has made several appearances at our dinner table and is truly tasty. Hope you like it!

*Serves 6-8

1 (14.5 ounce) can of diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (16 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup medium barley (not quick cooking)
4 cups water
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
dash cayenne pepper (more or less to taste)
2-3 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds), cut into bite-size pieces
1 (15 ounce) can black beans (rinsed and drained)
1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels

suggested garnishes:  shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, sliced green onions, tortilla chips

In a large pot (about 6 quarts), combine the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, chicken broth, barley, water, chili powder, cumin, dried oregano and cayenne (if using). Stir well.  Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat and add the chicken. Stir to combine.  Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer the chili for 40 minutes, until the barley is tender and chewy and the chicken is no longer pink. Stir occasionally, while it simmers to prevent sticking and to make sure it stays at a steady simmer. After 40 minutes, add the beans and corn. Stir to combine and simmer for five more minutes.  Serve the chili with optional garnishes, if desired.

The chili will thicken considerably upon cooling.  Add chicken broth or water as needed to achieve a desirable consistency (especially if reheating the leftovers).