Monday, October 20, 2014

(Slow Cooker) Southwest Chicken & Barley Stew

These are some of my favorite flavors - we love Mexican flavors and usually eat them at least once o a week here.  I also love that this is not only a slow cooker dish (perfect for throwing together at toddler nap time) but it's also one-pot dish  and is pretty full of vegetables (although you could always serve with a salad on the side).  Also, it's completely adaptable - I often add in what I have in my vegetable drawer (and occasionally, like last time, completely forget to add something). Regardless, it still turns out delicious!

All three of us loved this.  The optional toppings are great, too - my personal preference is plain Greek yogurt, chopped avocado and a little hot sauce but I think tortilla chips would have been delicious, too!

Slow Cooker Southwest Chicken & Barley Stew
Heavily adapted from: Mel's Kitchen Cafe
Serves 6-8
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 medium sweet potato, cut into 1/2" cubes
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2" cubes
  • 1 green bell pepper, cut into 1/2" cubes
  • 1-2 zucchini, cut into 1/2" cubes
  • 1 jalapeno (seeds and ribs removed for a milder flavor)
  • 1 large (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2/3 cup medium barley (not quick cooking)
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • dash crushed red pepper (more or less to taste)
  • 2-3 boneless skinless chicken breasts (1/2 - 1 pound; I use frozen)
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels (optional; I omitted)
  • 3-4 handfuls of baby spinach, chopped (optional; I forgot to add!)
  • juice of 1 lime
  • Optional garnishes: shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream or plain Greek yogurt, sliced green onions, tortilla chips, hot sauce, sliced avocado
  1. In a slow cooker, combine all ingredients from onion to chicken breast.  Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for about 3-4 hours.  
  2.  Take chicken breasts out of the slow cooker; wait until chicken is cool enough to handle, then shred with 2 forks.  Stir shredded chicken back in the slow cooker.  Add the black beans and corn and then cook for another 15-30 minutes. (I like it thicker but if the consistency is too thick for your liking, you could add up to 1 cup of water here, too.)
  3. Right before serving, stir in chopped spinach (if using) until wilted. Serve the chili with optional garnishes, if desired.
  4. The chili will thicken considerably upon cooling. Add chicken broth or water as needed to achieve a desirable consistency (especially if reheating the leftovers).


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