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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Chicken, Lentil and Barley Soup

Today is day 16 of Soup Month 2013 and we are over half way through this month of soups and stews.  To continue on, we have a hearty bowl of soup that delivers lots of protein and healthy fiber.  I love simple vegetable soup and this Chicken, Lentil and Barley Soup just delicious.  Packed with lots of complex carbs and healthy veggies and it's so easy to make, you can have it on the table, ready to eat in just about an hour.  It also makes great leftovers.

One benefit of cooking with red lentils is the shorter cooking time.  When cooking with green lentils you are looking at about 45 - 60 minutes of cooking time, and the lentils will still have a firm texture, even after this much cooking time. Red lentils, however, will cook down to a mushy-type consistency in about 20 - 30 minutes.  And mushy is a good thing in this case.  If you have kids that are just a little picky (or a lot picky, in some cases), adding a handful of red lentils to a stew or soup will thicken the stock as the lentils dissolve and add lots of protein and fiber, without the kids asking what those "little things" are in their soup. (Yes, my picky eater always asks this question...sigh.  But she did like this soup.) 

If you prefer a vegetarian soup, just substitute vegetable broth for the chicken broth and leave out the chicken.  Enjoy!!

1/2 cup  Red lentils
1 small  Onion, chopped
1/2  Red or Orange Sweet Pepper, chopped
2 tsp  Minced Garlic
2 TB  Butter
5 cups  Chicken Broth  (or vegetable broth)
1/2 tsp  Dried Basil
1/4 tsp  Dried Oregano
1 tsp  Fresh Rosemary
1/2 tsp  Ground Black Pepper
2 tsp  Kosher Salt
2 cups  Chopped Pre-Cooked Chicken or Turkey
2 or 3  Carrots, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup  Quick Cooking Barley, uncooked
14-1/2 oz can  Diced Tomatoes

In a medium soup pot, melt the butter and sauté the onions, peppers, and garlic until just softened.

Add the chicken broth, basil, oregano, rosemary, pepper, and salt to the pot and stir.  Rinse and drain the lentils and add them to the pot and bring the mixture to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer, covered for 15 minutes.

Add the chicken, carrots and barley to the pot, stir and cover the pot and simmer for 10 minutes, then add the tomatoes and cook for 10 minutes longer or until the carrots are tender.  Makes 6 servings.

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