1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
4 carrots, diced small
4 celery stalks, diced small
1 medium yellow onion, diced small
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
Coarse salt and ground pepper
6 cups low sodium chicken broth
5 sprigs thyme
1 cup quick cooking barley
5 ounces baby spinach (5 cups)
In a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot, heat oil over medium-high. Add carrots, celery, and onion. Cook until just tender, about 8 minutes. Add chicken, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring, until chicken is opaque at edges, about 2 minutes.
Add broth and thyme and bring to a boil. Stir in barley. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer until barley is tender and chicken is cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes.
Add spinach and cook until wilted, 1 minute. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.
This soup was fairly simple and easy for me to make. The recipe layout and order made it very smooth to cook this soup. This tasted a lot like chicken soup but much more rich and with much more ingredients inside. The celery and carrots tasted very fresh and the chicken breasts which were very tender and soft. I really enjoyed this soup although it was a bit salty at first but adding a little bit of water solved the issue. I chose the recipe because I love eating all types of chicken whether it is fried chicken or grilled chicken. As a result, this soup recipe really caught my eye. The combination of barley, the vegetables and chicken tasted was fantastic. This soup contained almost every single item from the food group except for dairy. I served this soup to my family during dinner to my family and they also enjoyed it very much. My mom even said that it was the best dish during dinner.
Although it was a success this time, I feel like that there are still somethings that i could do better or change. To start off, the carrots and celery were a bit too soft and also I do not really like those vegetables that much. Next time, I would replace those vegetables with potatoes and broccoli or something. Also, I want to try to add some brown rice into the soup next time instead of barley. I think that this would also work out very well too and it might taste even better. Finally, I would like to add some more chicken. Personally, I felt that the amount of chicken was a bit too little.
Overall, I really enjoyed the experience of making the soup and definitely eating it. My family will definitely be seeing this soup at the dinner table again sometime soon!