Maybe it’s the cold weather. Maybe it’s the overwhelming feeling that I won’t be able to make much of anything while I’m here. But, I’ve been on a crazy long soup/stew kick lately. It’s something you can make with basic ingredients plus whatever you can find, and this creamy chicken barley stew is the perfect example of that. It’s a basic chicken barley stew – except I swapped out the onions for leeks and added lemon and fresh dill to create a really refreshing flavor. For some reason, the only fresh herbs I can find here are parsley and dill – lots and lots of dill. I mean it. It’s in everything at the restaurants and Marc says they have dill a lot at the rink.
I know there are lots of kinds of quick-cooking barley available, but for this recipe I used regular barley because that’s all I’ve been able to find. I don’t actually know that much about barley so I’m not sure how the quick-cooking version would change the recipe. If you have any insight into the different varieties of barley, please leave your advice in the comments section. I would love to know more.
Creamy Chicken Barley Stew with Lemon & Fresh Dill
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, chopped into bite-sized pieces
- Salt & pepper
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 carrots, roughly chopped (about 2 cups)
- 3 stalks celery, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 2 leeks, white and light green parts only, halved and sliced (about 2 cups)
- 2 garlic clove, minced
- 6 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup barley
- 1/4 cup fat-free half-and-half
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons fresh chopped dill
- Juice of 1/2 a lemon
- In a large stockpot, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat.
- Add chicken pieces and cook until golden brown.
- Remove from pot and set aside.
- Add remaining oil, celery and carrots and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add leeks and garlic, cooking for about 3 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add barley and chicken stock.
- Cover pot and bring to a rolling boil.
- Reduce heat to medium low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 35-40 minutes or until barley is tender.
- In a small bowl, whisk together flour fat-free half-and-half.
- Add the chicken and the milk mixture to pot and cook until flour has thickened the stew and chicken - about 5 minutes.
- Stir in the lemon juice and dill just before serving.