Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Quick Barley and Chicken Chili

It was a cold and rainy winter night in Boston. I needed something that would warm the heart and soul. Something that screamed COMFORT FOOD! Something that I could make after getting home from work at 6 that wouldn't require hours on the stove.....

It was a challenge I was willing to accept when I came upon a recipe on the back of my Quaker Quick Barley box. It's a Quick Barley and Chicken chili, and it promised slow cooker taste in 30 minutes! I went right to the super market and picked up the remaining ingredients I didn't have. I immediately got to work on dinner when I got home and let me tell you...this did NOT disappoint my cravings! Not only did it literally take 30 minutes, but I only had to use one pot and one spoon to prep the dinner! This is every working cook's dream.

So here's what you need for Chicken and Barley Chili, adapted from Quaker:
1 can diced tomatoes
1 jar of medium heat salsa
1 can low or no fat chicken broth
3 cups water
1 cup quick barley
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 package of Perdue Short Cuts oven roasted chicken bites
1 can whole kernel corn
1 can beans (optional)
Cheddar Cheese and Sour Cream on top

And here's what you do (be prepared...this is SO easy!!)
In your 6 quart soup pot, combine the diced tomatoes, salsa, chicken broth, water, barley, and seasonings. Stir and bring to a boil.

Let me quickly be honest about my seasonings and salsa. I did NOT use chili powder. Cory and I don't love spicy foods, so I decided to make it a little more flavorful by subbing the chili powder with some Lawry's seasoned salt and garlic powder (simply eye-balled and adjusted during cooking). However, in order to keep some of that true chili style, I decided on medium heat salsa. If you are using the spicy stuff, I'd maybe recommend mild salsa (unless you're a serious heat seeker, then ramp it up however you like!)
Ok. So your first ingredients are in the pot and boiling. Cover the pot and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
In the meantime, grab your chicken. Now, if I may, these Purdue Short Cuts are God's gift to the working cook. Not only are they great on a salad or in a wrap, but any recipe that calls for the chicken to be cooked ahead of time BEGS for these bad boys. This chili was no exception. I didn't even need a knife. I took the pieces of chicken and just roughly ripped them apart. Many of them shredded a bit and this was just awesome! Season with salt and black pepper.
After 20 minutes of simmering, add in the corn, chicken, and beans if you please. Take a quick taste and adjust any seasonings. Stir and again bring to a boil.

Lower the heat and again cover and simmer for about 5 to 10 minutes. Once the barley is tender and the chili starts to thicken up, you are ready to eat!
Serve with shredded cheddar cheese and a small dollop of sour cream.

This was my first time trying this meal, and to be perfectly honest I cut out the recipe and added it to our recipe box. There is nothing fancy, homemade, or labor intensive about this chili. But on a cold work night, when I didn't want to spend hours in the kitchen and wanted that comforting meal -- this was perfect. Anyone can pull this off! You are really using the grocery store's help here and there is NOTHING wrong with that. Plus, it is a great change up that is a bit lighter and more nutritious! (That is, until the cheese...)


  1. Totes want to try this! It looks delicious!

  2. ...you would use "seasoning salt" and "medium salsa"