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Chicken Chili w/Barley (M, TNT)
Source: The Healthy Slow Cooker
Serves: 8

1 tbsp. (15ml) cumin seeds, toasted
1 tbsp. (15ml) olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. (5ml) dried oregano leaves, crumbled
1 tsp. (5 ml) cracked black peppercorns
1 28-ounce (796ml) can tomatoes, including juice, coarsely chopped
2 cups (500ml) chicken stock
1 cup (250ml) whole (hulled) or pot barley, rinsed
1 14-to-19-ounce (398ml to 540ml) can white beans, drained and rinsed
1 pound (500g) boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite size pieces
2 red bell peppers, diced
2 tsp. (10ml) chili powder, dissolved in 1 tablespoon (15ml) lime juice
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced, optional
1 to 2 avocados, diced
2 tablespoons (25ml) freshly squeezed lime juice
Salt, optional
Red onion, finely chopped

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat for 30 seconds. Add onions and cook, stirring, until onions are softened, about 4 minutes. Add garlic, oregano, peppercorns and toasted cumin and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

Add tomatoes with juice and bring to a boil. Transfer to slow cooker (crockpot) stoneware.

Add chicken stock, barley, beans, and chicken to slow cooker/crockpot and stir well. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours or on high for 3 hours, until juices run clear when chicken is pierced with a fork and barley is tender. Stir in bell peppers, chili powder solution, and jalapeno pepper, if using. Cover and cook for 20 minutes, until peppers are tender.

Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine avocados, lime juice, and salt to taste, if using. To serve, ladle casserole onto plates, top with avocado mixture and garnish with onion and cilantro.

Make ahead:
This dish can be partially prepared before it is cooked. Complete Step 1.

Cover and refrigerate overnight or for up to 2 days. When you are ready to cook, continue with Steps 2 and 3.

To toast cumin seeds, place seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat and cook, stirring, until fragrant and seeds just begin to brown, about 3 minutes. Immediately transfer to a mortar or a spice grinder and grind.

Just about any chili powder works well in this recipe: ancho, New Mexico, or a prepared blend.

I have included a range in the quantity of avocados because they vary so much in size. Use two if yours are extremely small. One if it is large.

Poster's Notes:
If you are watching your intake of sodium make your own chicken stock with no added salt and use 1 cup (250ml) cooked dried white beans instead of the canned.

Posted by Judith Sobel

Nutritional Info Per Serving: N/A