Chicken, Spinach and Barley Soup

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This soup can be a meal in itself. Serve with a tossed green salad for an easy winter meal.

 Yields 2 ½ Quarts

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced (about 2 cups)
3 stalks celery, diced (about 1 cup)
2 medium carrots, diced (about 1 cup)
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups roasted chicken breast, shredded (about 2 ¼ pounds)
¾ cups pearl barley
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
9 cups chicken stock
2 teaspoons cumin seed, toasted and ground
2 teaspoons ground mustard
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
4 ounces baby spinach
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, celery and carrots, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion turns translucent and the carrots begin to soften, about 15 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute longer.

2. Add the chicken, barley, Worcestershire sauce, chicken stock, ground cumin, ground mustard, paprika and red pepper flakes and simmer 45 minutes, until the barley is tender. Add the spinach, oregano, and marjoram, and cook until the spinach has just wilted. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

If you make the soup ahead of time you may need to add a little stock to thin it out before you reheat. The barley will continue to soak up the liquid as it sits.


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