Chicken Barley Stew (serves 8)
32 oz low-fat, low-sodium chicken broth (I used four packets Trader Joe's stock concentrate)
8 oz water
1 tbsp garlic, minced (I used about 3 cloves)
1 tsp garlic sea salt (I used regular sea salt)
1/2 tbsp thyme (I used 1/2 tsp dried)
1/2 tbsp basil (again, 1/2 tsp dried)
1/2 tbsp cilantro (left it out)
1/4 tbsp dill (I used 1/4 tsp dried)
2 bay leaves
1/2 tbsp fresh ground black pepper
12 oz boneless, skinless chicken breast, cubed (uncooked)
1/2 cup uncooked black-eyed peas, rinsed and picked through
1/2 cup barley
1 medium sweet onion, cubed (I diced it)
20 oz potatoes, peeled and cubed (I used two large ones and did not peel)
10 oz carrots (3 large), peeled and cut into 1/2 inch slices
8 tbsp low-fat sour cream (optional)
Fill a slow cooker with broth, 8 oz water, garlic, herbs, and pepper. Add chicken, peas, and barley, then layer onion, potatoes, and carrots overtop. Liquid should just cover vegetables. Do not stir. Allow to simmer overnight or at least 4-6 hours. Remove bay leaves and stir before serving. Spoon 1 cup into each bowl and top with 1 tbsp sour cream, if desired.
Review: Too much pepper! I will decrease it by about half next time, and bump up the amount of dill. The H said he couldn't even taste the dill, but definitely noticed the pepper. This stew had a very rich, buttery texture. The H said it tasted like it could be the appetizer course of a big holiday-type meal. I would never make this thoroughly-autumnal recipe in the spring or summer, but it was perfect for mid-October. It may even make an appearance on our Thanksgiving table.
I loved the simplicity of the slow cooker for this recipe. It was a far cry from the chicken-rice-and-beans we've been doing in the CrockPot lately. I'm experimenting with freezing a single portion since it makes quite a lot; if it works, this would be great to have on hand for work lunches. Even the baby (who is walking! So I guess he's a toddler now) ate his entire bowlful, carrots and everything. The dog couldn't wait to lick the high chair. If you have this issue of the magazine, please note that my stew looked just like the one in the picture. Overall, a success all around.