December 27th, 2007

woods, Elizabeth, camera, April

Chicken Black-Bean Barley Soup

We had company coming for lunch today...lunch and a walk on the land.  So of course I went for the soup and bread approach.  

1 quart chicken stock (made with kosher chickens), fairly thick (syrupy when chilled--that thick)
1 quart water
1 2-cup frozen packet of cut-up cooked chicken, the chicken the stock was made from
1 can Ro-Tel diced tomatoes and green chilis
1 can black beans
3/4 cup pearl barley

Chicken stock, water, tomatoes & chili, and black beans (and their liquid) were combined and heated to boiling, then the barley went in, heat was reduced to simmer and the pot covered.  When the barley was about done (about 50 minutes), the frozen lump of chicken went in and the whole reheated to simmer until the guests arrived. 

This made a hearty, thickish soup, very good with the brown bread (whole-wheat with dried cranberries, walnuts, pine nuts, and sunflower seeds in it) and fed five adults, three of them Men With Appetites.  There was none left (!).   I had never before put black beans in this sort of soup, but it was visually attractive--a dark brown color, with white barley, black beans, orange-red bits of tomato, green bits of chili peppers and the lumps of chicken (both light and dark.) 

I'm going to try it with rice and red beans instead of black beans another day.   I imagine that you could  also add a little yellow corn to it for a corn soup, but I don't think I'd like a LOT of corn in it.

The kosher chicken stock is the richest flavored I've made...using the same basic ingredients as I always use (celery, carrots, onions, garlic, parsley, bay leaves, peppercorns, mixed herbs that include rosemary, thyme, and sage), it was noticeably more flavorful, and the chicken still had flavor in the soup today.  In our area, kosher chicken is available in only one store, and it does cost more, but the flavor is noticeably's worth it to me. 
woods, Elizabeth, camera, April


If tomorrow goes as the morning I will call the meat processing place and see if they're through processing Sir Loin the Luckless and if I can pick up the which case, I will take off for San Saba (almost two hours away)  with every cooler I can stuff into the car...and then come back to load the freezer for the next year.  And there will be much rejoicing. 

But this afternoon the farrier called and wants to come tomorrow morning because he has other calls in our area.  He was injured last month, pretty badly, and is only now recovered and catching up, and his wife's grandfather died last week, etc.    This means I might have to be in the car far away when he comes...which means Richard will end up holding the horses for him.   Should be...interesting.  I hope my boys (equine and human) behave, but I haven't been working the horses at all, what with weather and the demands of preparing music for Christmas.   Bananaface has taken to closing Mac in his stall, the same thing he did to a horse back at his home farm years ago.  I'm going to have to find a way to latch the stalls open.   Mac has figured out that if he kicks the stall wall hard enough, we'll hear it and come out and release him, but that's not good for the stall walls or his legs.

And then there are the friends in various hospitals...and work, yes, let's not forget that.   Pages to be written, others' work to be read, business to be conducted, checks to be written...