Welcome to my kitchen, where I’ll be sharing with you my recipe for a hearty and delicious chicken barley chili. This recipe combines the best of both worlds: the comforting taste of chili and the healthy benefits of barley.
If you’re looking for a meal that will warm you up and leave you feeling satisfied, then look no further. The chicken and barley in this chili make it a filling and nutritious option that can be enjoyed by the whole family.
Plus, with the addition of black beans, corn, and flavorful spices like cumin and chili powder, this recipe has a southwestern twist that will have your taste buds dancing.
So grab a spoon and let’s get started on making this delicious chicken barley chili.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
Are you a fan of comfort food that’s both hearty and healthy? Then you’re going to love this Chicken Barley Chili recipe! Not only is it packed with protein and fiber, but the combination of southwestern flavors and quick-cooking barley make this dish a crowd-pleaser.
But what really sets this recipe apart is its versatility. Whether you’re looking for a quick and easy weeknight dinner or a meal to feed a hungry crowd, this recipe has got you covered. Plus, with the option to make it in a slow cooker or on the stovetop, you can choose the method that works best for you.
But don’t just take my word for it. This recipe has been tested and approved by even the pickiest of eaters. So why not give it a try and see for yourself why this Chicken Barley Chili is sure to become a new favorite in your recipe collection?
Here are the ingredients you’ll need for this savory and hearty chicken barley chili recipe:
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 green pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 can (14.5 ounce) diced tomatoes, undrained
- 1 can (16 ounce) tomato sauce
- 1 can (14.5 ounce) black beans, undrained
- 1 can (15.25 ounce) corn, undrained
- 1 cup quick-cooking barley, uncooked
- 1 jar (16 ounce) salsa
- 4 cups fat-free chicken broth
- 1 cup water
- Reduced-fat sour cream and shredded cheddar cheese for topping
Note: You can use canned corn and black beans in this recipe, but if you prefer, you can use frozen or fresh ones. Just make sure to adjust the cooking time accordingly.
The Recipe How-To
Step 1: Preparing the Chicken
To start with, preheat a large pot or Dutch oven over high heat. Once the pot is heated, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and wait for it to heat up. Meanwhile, cut 1 pound of chicken breast into small cubes and season them with salt and pepper. When the oil is hot enough, add the chicken to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is well browned on all sides. This will take about 5-7 minutes.
Step 2: Adding Ingredients
Once the chicken is browned, add 1 chopped onion, 1 chopped green bell pepper, 1 tablespoon of cumin, and 1 tablespoon of chili powder to the pot. Cook the mixture for 2-3 minutes or until the onions are translucent. Then, add 1 can of corn, 1 can of black beans, 1 can of diced tomatoes, 1 cup of quick-cooking barley, 1 cup of fat-free chicken broth, 1 cup of water, and 1 jar of salsa (any flavor of your choice).
Step 3: Cooking the Chili
Bring the mixture to a boil, then cover the pot and reduce the heat to low. Simmer the chili for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. If the chili gets too thick, add more water as necessary. After 40 minutes, the chicken should be cooked through, the barley should be tender, and the flavors should have melded together.
Step 4: Garnishing and Serving
Ladle the chicken barley chili into bowls and garnish with shredded cheddar cheese, a dollop of reduced-fat sour cream, and any other toppings you prefer. This chili is perfect for a cozy night in or for feeding a crowd. Enjoy!
Substitutions and Variations
One of the best things about cooking is the opportunity to experiment and make a recipe your own. With this Chicken Barley Chili recipe, there are plenty of ways to switch up the ingredients and make it your own.
If you’re looking for a vegetarian option, you can easily omit the chicken breasts and swap in another protein source like tofu or additional beans. You could also use beef instead of chicken to make a heartier, beef barley chili.
For those who love spice, consider adding a diced jalapeno or two to the mix. You can also increase the amount of chili powder or cumin for an extra kick.
If you’re looking to add more vegetables, try adding diced carrots, celery, or zucchini to the mix. You could also throw in some bell peppers or corn for added texture and flavor.
When it comes to toppings, the possibilities are endless. Instead of cheddar cheese, try using crumbled queso fresco or Monterey jack cheese. You could also swap out the reduced-fat sour cream for Greek yogurt or avocado.
Another way to switch things up is by changing the type of barley used. Pearled barley is quick-cooking and works well in this recipe, but you could also try using hulled barley for a chewier texture.
No matter how you choose to customize this Chicken Barley Chili recipe, the end result is sure to be a delicious and satisfying meal.
Serving and Pairing
This chicken barley chili recipe is perfect for a cozy night in with friends or family. It’s a hearty and flavorful dish that will leave everyone feeling satisfied. When it comes to serving, there are many options to choose from. You can ladle the chili into bowls and serve it with a dollop of reduced-fat sour cream or shredded cheddar cheese on top. You can also add a side of cornbread or tortilla chips for some crunch.
If you’re looking for a healthier option, try serving the chili over a bed of brown rice or quinoa. You can also top it with some diced avocado or fresh cilantro for some extra color and flavor. This chili recipe is versatile enough to be paired with a variety of sides and toppings, so feel free to get creative with your serving options.
As for pairing, this chicken barley chili goes well with a variety of beverages. A cold beer, such as a light lager or IPA, can help balance out the heat from the chili. If you prefer something non-alcoholic, a glass of iced tea or lemonade can be refreshing. For a more indulgent pairing, try a glass of red wine, such as a Zinfandel or Syrah.
Overall, this chicken barley chili recipe is a crowd-pleaser that can be customized to suit your taste preferences. Whether you’re serving it as a main dish or a side, this chili is sure to be a hit with everyone at the table.
Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating
This chicken barley chili recipe is ideal for meal prepping, as it tastes even better the next day. You can store it in the refrigerator for up to 4 days and in the freezer for up to 3 months. Make sure to cool the chili completely before transferring it to an airtight container.
When reheating, you can either use a microwave or a stovetop. If using the microwave, heat it in a microwave-safe container for 2-3 minutes or until heated through, stirring occasionally. If using the stovetop, transfer the chili to a saucepan and heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until heated through.
To make this chili ahead of time, simply follow the instructions until step 4. Once the chili has come to a boil, reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and let it cool completely. Then, transfer it to an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
If you choose to freeze the chili, make sure to thaw it in the refrigerator overnight before reheating. This will ensure that the flavors are evenly distributed and the texture is not compromised.
To add an extra kick to this chili, top it with reduced-fat sour cream, cheddar cheese or diced avocado before serving. This will give it a creamy and delicious touch.
Overall, this chicken barley chili recipe is perfect for meal prepping and can be stored easily in the refrigerator or freezer. It’s a great option for busy weeknights or for packing lunch for work or school.
Tips for Perfect Results
When it comes to making the perfect Chicken Barley Chili, there are a few tips that I have learned over the years that can help you achieve the best possible result. Here are some tips that you can follow to ensure that your chicken barley chili turns out delicious and perfect every time.
1. Use Quick-Cooking Barley
For this recipe, I recommend using quick-cooking barley instead of pearl barley. Quick-cooking barley cooks faster and absorbs less liquid, so it won’t turn your chili into a thick soup. It will also stay firm and chewy, adding a nice texture to the dish.
2. Sauté the Chicken First
Sautéing the chicken before adding it to the chili will give it a nice golden brown color and seal in the juices, making it more flavorful and tender. Use olive oil in a hot pan and cook the chicken until it is browned on all sides.
3. Use Low-Sodium Chicken Broth
To keep the sodium level in check, use low-sodium chicken broth instead of regular chicken broth. This will allow you to control the amount of salt in the chili and still get the desired flavor.
4. Add Tomatoes and Salsa at the End
Adding the tomatoes and salsa towards the end of the cooking process will help to preserve their freshness and color. The acidity in the tomatoes and salsa can break down the other ingredients if added too early, so it’s best to add them towards the end of the cooking time.
5. Let it Simmer
To get the best flavor and texture out of your chicken barley chili, let it simmer for at least 40 minutes. This will allow all the flavors to blend together and the barley to absorb the liquid, creating a hearty and delicious chili.
6. Garnish with Reduced-Fat Sour Cream and Cheddar Cheese
Garnishing your chicken barley chili with a dollop of reduced-fat sour cream and a sprinkle of cheddar cheese will add a creamy and cheesy flavor that balances well with the spicy notes of the chili.
By following these tips, you can make the perfect Chicken Barley Chili every time. Experiment with different variations and see what works best for you. Enjoy!
In conclusion, this Chicken Barley Chili Recipe is a must-try for any chili lover out there. It’s the perfect blend of protein, fiber, and flavor that will keep you satisfied and warm during the colder months. The recipe is easy to follow and can be customized to your liking with different substitutions and variations.
Whether you’re cooking for yourself or a crowd, this recipe is sure to impress. Plus, it can be made ahead of time and reheated for a quick and easy meal. So why not give this recipe a try and see for yourself how delicious and nutritious it can be?
With the combination of juicy chicken breasts, quick-cooking barley, flavorful spices, and delicious toppings like reduced-fat sour cream and cheddar cheese, this Chicken Barley Chili will become a new favorite in your recipe rotation. So grab your ingredients and get cooking!
Chicken Barley Chili Recipe
- 1 (14 1/2 ounce) can tomatoes, diced, undrained (you can use seasoned tomatoes)
- 1 (16 ounce) jar of your favorite salsa
- 1 (14 1/2 ounce) can fat free chicken broth (I like to use the reduced sodium)
- 1 cup quick-cooking barley
- 3 cups water
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 (15 1/4 ounce) can corn or (15 1/4 ounce) can corn mixed with chopped peppers, undrained
- 1 1/2 lbs chicken breasts, cooked and diced (3 cups)
- cheddar cheese (optional)
- reduced-fat sour cream (optional)
- In a large saucepan, combine first 7 ingredients (tomatoes through cumin).
- Over high heat bring to a boil; cover and reduce heat to low.
- Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add beans, corn and chicken; increase heat to high until chili comes to a boil.
- Cover and reduce heat to low.
- Simmer for another 5 minutes, or until barley is tender.
- If upon standing the chili becomes too thick, add more chicken broth or water until chili is desired consistency.
- If desired, top each bowl of chili with a little shredded cheddar and a dollop of sour cream.
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Lucy is a mom who loves to cook up a storm. She enjoys discovering, collecting, and experimenting with delicious, healthy recipes for her blog. With her passion for cooking, Lucy is always coming up with her own unique creations to share with the world.