You might think of barley as an addition to hearty, wintery soups, such as mushroom-barley or beef-barley soup, but it also works well in lighter soups like this one with chicken, asparagus and peas.

4 servings, about 2 cups each

Active Time: 45 minutesĀ 

Total Time: 1 1/4 hours

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
  • 2 cloves garlic, divided
  • 6 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 large bone-in chicken breast, (10-12 ounces), skin removed, trimmed
  • 1/3 cup pearl barley
  • 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup trimmed and diagonally sliced asparagus, (1/4 inch thick)
  • 1 cup fresh or thawed frozen peas
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed torn fresh basil leaves
  • 1 strip orange zest, (1/2 by 2 inches)

Preparation

  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat; add onion and celery and cook, stirring, until beginning to soften, 2 to 4 minutes. Grate or finely chop 1 clove garlic; add to the pan and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add broth, chicken and barley. Bring to a gentle simmer. Cover and cook over low heat until the chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate with a slotted spoon. Return the broth to a simmer and cook until the barley is tender, 20 to 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, shred the chicken or cut into bite-size pieces; discard the bone.
  3. When the barley is done, add the chicken, tomatoes and juice, asparagus, peas, salt and a grinding of pepper; return to a simmer. Cover and cook over low heat until the asparagus is tender, about 5 minutes more.
  4. Coarsely chop the remaining garlic clove. Gather basil, orange zest and the garlic and finely chop together. Ladle the soup into bowls and sprinkle each serving with a generous pinch of the basil mixture.

Nutrition

Per serving : 265 Calories; 6 g Fat; 2 g Sat; 3 g Mono; 39 mg Cholesterol; 28 g Carbohydrates; 24 g Protein; 7 g Fiber; 745 mg Sodium; 405 mg Potassium

1 1/2 Carbohydrate Serving

Exchanges: 1 1/2 starch, 1 vegetable, 2 lean meat

Tips & Notes

  • Make Ahead Tip: Prepare through Step 3, cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Reheat the soup, thin with broth if desired and finish with Step 4 just before serving.