I am just as much a fan of soup in the winter as I am of soup in the summer. They key to transforming a soup to be served in the hot and humid summer months is freshness. The ingredients you use should be literally fresh (new) and fresh in the sense of the flavors they offer. I designed this soup to be light and fresh but also filling. This soup also has a little bit of everything: traditional protein, vegetables, legumes and whole grains.
A word to the intimidated: Soups can be very involved. They often have many steps and may seem daunting. Don’t be intimidated. My experience is that overall soups are very easy. It is difficult to make a bad tasting soup. It really is. Plan on spending a little over an hour on this soup. Take it one step at a time. You may surprise yourself.
3 TB. olive oil
2 chicken breasts, thawed
½ tsp. of chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. coriander
¼ tsp. ground black pepper
3 cloves of garlic, minced (about 2 TB.)
1 cup chopped green onion
2 cups multicolored peppers, chopped
3 cups carrots, julienned or chopped in bite sized pieces
1- 15.5 ounce can of black beans, drained and thoroughly rinsed
1 cup of pearled barley, uncooked
8 cups of low sodium chicken broth
2 cups of water
2 cups of tomatoes, diced (or 1 can of diced tomatoes)
1.3 cup cilantro, chopped (or parsley, if you prefer)
OPTIONAL: Top with shredded cheese such as feta or parmesan
Add extra chilli powder, cayenne pepper, or red pepper flakes at any time during the heating process for an extra kick.
- In a 6-quart (or bigger) stock pot, add 3 TB. of olive oil and place over high heat.
- Cube chicken breasts and add to stock pot to sear for 2-3 minutes, until the outise of the chicken cubes are golden brown.
- Add garlic, green onions, multicolored peepers, chili powder, cumin, coriander, and black pepper to the stock pot of chicken.
- Continue sautéing for 5-7 more minutes, until the chicken is no longer pink inside.
- Pull the stock pot off of the heat.
- Chop carrots and partly steam, until they are half as soft as you prefer. (Steam for 2 minutes in a steamer bag or in a microwave safe bowl for 2 minutes along with a 1/3 cup of water).
- Add the steamed carrots to the stock pot.
- Rinse and drain 1 can of black beans in a colander and add to the stock pot.
- Measure 1 cup of pearled barley and add to the stock pot.
- Prepare 8 cups of low sodium chicken broth and add to the stock pot.
- Add an extra 2 cups of water to the stock pot.
- Place the stock pot over medium heat and cook until the barley is soft and chewy, about 15-20 minutes
- When ready to serve, top with diced tomatoes, cilantro and cheese.