Goodness there is a definite chill in the air. A 29 degree chill to be exact, per my car last evening. It’s ok though – I full on embrace this chill through the holidays. It blows in thoughts of hot cocoa by the fire, thick and fluffy snowflakes, cozy sweaters and scarves to wrap up in, Christmas music (yes, totally am already listening to it and have been for awhile actually) and best of all – SOUPS!
I wanted to kick off the soup season with a winning recipe. This one is a sure bet to warm up your bones. It’s full of scented spices including cinnamon, which gives a slight nod to the approaching Thanksgiving holiday. You’ll also find sweet potatoes in this soup. Yet instead of fluffed up with sticks of butter and marshmallows, these sweet potatoes are peeled, diced, and cooked. Just a hair healthier. Let’s save the butter and marshmallow for next week.
‘Spicy Chicken Barley Soup’
Adapted from Melissa Clark’s ‘In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite’
- 3 TBS olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp sweet paprika
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp coriander
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- pinch of cayenne pepper
- 1 TBS tomato paste
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 8 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup pearled barley
- 1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
- 12 oz boneless chicken, cut into bite sized pieces
- 5 oz fresh spinach
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
- 1 TBS fresh lemon juice
Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and salt and saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Add in all the spices and saute until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the tomato paste and saute for another minute. Lastly add in the garlic and continue to saute for another minute.
Dial up the heat to high then add the broth along with 2 cups of water. Stir in the barley. Bring to a boil and then let simmer for 30 minutes.
Add the sweet potato, bring back to a boil, then simmer for an additional 30 minutes. If the soup is getting too thick you can add some additional water (this is a soup, not a stew).
Add in the chicken, partially cover the pot, and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the spinach and cilantro and continue to simmer until the spinach is wilted, roughly 5 minutes. Lastly, stir in the lemon juice and more salt if desired.
Garnish with lemon wedges and more chopped cilantro.
Bring on the cold!